WATCH: Tens of thousands of people flock to Douglas Street for ‘Car Free YYJ’, Victoria’s biggest street festival
Tens of thousands of people flooded downtown Victoria on Sunday for the city’s second annual car-free day.
The massive event got even bigger this year, with nine blocks of Douglas Street shut down to vehicle traffic.
It’s estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people came out for Victoria’s largest street fair, which is put on by the Downtown Victoria Business Association.
Hundreds of vendors and artisans set up along the route, which stretched from Courtney Street to Caledonia Avenue this Father’s Day.
There was even a 5,000-square-foot grassy park laid down on the roadway for people to lounge on, as well as four stages with live entertainment and beer gardens.
By shutting down three extra blocks this year, ‘Car Free YYJ’ is 50 per cent larger this year and organizers are thrilled the event is so popular.
“There’s smiles on everybody’s faces, people are being entertained by the artisans, by the stores, the community groups,” says DVBA general manager Ken Kelly. “There’s something for everybody. This is a celebration of community. This is car-free, care-free Sunday!”
Car Free YYJ event to continue next year and beyond
The event has been so successful, the City of Victoria has already signed on for another three years.
Mayor Lisa Helps says it’s a proud day for her as mayor.
“It’s a great event for Victoria’s awareness of the environment,” Helps says. “It’s also a fantastic event for awareness of our amazing small biz community. The businesses are quite literally out on the street selling their wares.”
One of the highlights was the mayor taking part in a charity dunk tank.
She was plunged into the water on the first shot to raise money for the Quadra Village neighbourhood.