Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

THE SHOW WENT ON – The annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display is seen here from the intersection of Front and Main streets. Due to the cold, the events scheduled for Shipyards Park were called off, though there were activities at the Canada Games Centre.

City cancels New Year’s Eve outdoors fun

Whitehorse joined numerous other cities across the country Sunday in taking the unusual move to cancel New Year’s Eve events that had been set for the great outdoors due to weather.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 2, 2018

Whitehorse joined numerous other cities across the country Sunday in taking the unusual move to cancel New Year’s Eve events that had been set for the great outdoors due to weather.

Scheduled outdoor concerts, hockey games and more aimed at ringing in 2018 were cancelled at various locales across Canada.

Locally, the city’s celebrations began at 4 p.m. with free skating, swimming, crafts and games happening inside the Canada Games Centre until 6 p.m.

That’s when festivities had been scheduled to move to Shipyards Park, where there would be sliding, skating, outdoor games and bonfires until 8 p.m. At that point, the finale to the event would see fireworks light up the sky.

With temperatures in the -30s and wind chills making it feel more like it was in the -40s, Adrian Marsh, the city’s special events co-ordinator, said today officials decided Sunday to cancel the outdoor events. They notified the public via the city’s social media feeds.

“The wind picked up,” Marsh explained of the cancellation.

While some thought had been given to extending the festivities at the Canada Games Centre, she said, the timing of the cancellation didn’t allow for that.

While Shipyards Park remained largely empty through Sunday, the CGC proved a popular spot for families to celebrate in the late afternoon.

Some 1,300 people walked through the doors between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and signs had to be put up directing drivers to overflow parking areas.

“There was a steady flow,” Marsh said.

The Games Centre had been fairly busy during the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, with the cold snap leading many families to seek indoor activities.

Many at the centre seemed happy to take in the free activities and enjoy the kettle corn that was handed out before the recreation complex closed at 6 p.m.

As news spread of the cancellation at Shipyards, many took to social media wondering whether the fireworks would go ahead as planned.

Officials with the city continued to let the public know the fireworks were still set to proceed, also taking the opportunity to recommend bundling up for the event.

Downtown, a number of vehicles were stationed in store parking lots, facing the direction of Shipyards Park to take in the display in the sky.

Drivers and passengers opted to stay in their vehicles or just step out briefly to take in part of the spectacle.

Others made their way from their parked vehicles to the park to observe, arguably, the best view of the fireworks that lit up the night sky.

Marsh said the city is looking at building more partnerships in hosting next year’s New Year’s Eve events.

Meanwhile, it plans to continue keeping the festivities as a family-focused event for ringing in the new year.

Comments (3)

Up 3 Down 0

My Opinion on Jan 3, 2018 at 11:26 am

It was just fine the way it was. The show was good. We don't need to do a bunch more, let people entertain themselves. Spend time with their families and enjoy themselves without a bunch of organization at the taxpayers expense.

Up 0 Down 1

Taylor on Jan 3, 2018 at 2:45 am

Last years Classified concert was the best the city has ever done for Whitehorse in terms of new years events. There should be more offered and focused for adults.

Up 2 Down 0

Ken Putnam on Jan 2, 2018 at 6:38 pm

Are you kidding me? All I have seen in the past week is how tough Canadians are. Ottawa cancelled there little skating party at Parliament Hill and now we have fallen to the same depth as the Nations Capital. Okay, disclosure here. I am presently in Mexico where it has been 27-28 every day. But really, who makes these calls? Cancellation because it is too cold. Isn't it one of those things that if you are afraid to go outside then don't but if you are not, bring it on. Our cold weather bragging rights have dropped significantly due to this stupid wimpy city hall decision. Did Yellowknife cancel? Geez!

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