Bigger crowd, fewer arrests for Canada Day in Victoria compared to last year

Bigger crowd, fewer arrests for Canada Day in Victoria compared to last year

Watch: An estimated 70,000 people attended Canada Day celebrations in Victoria. Police say 19 people were arrested. Isabelle Raghem reports. 

Saturday’s firework finale lit up the faces of more than 70,000 people that gathered in the capital city. 

Sunday the gates were carried out, wires packed up and the stage torn a part.

Less than 12-hours after crowds went home, the legislative lawn returning to it’s normal appearance.

As Canada day fell on a Saturday, VicPD had concerns the party could quickly turn to mayhem.

In past years, the country’s birthday celebrations have led to madness with alcohol-fueled fights and destruction. But according to police, that was far from being the case this year.

VicPd says the number of arrests were down. In total, 19 people were taken by police compared to 36 Canada Day 2016

“Almost half the number of arrests with at least double the number of people, I mean it’s remarkable,” says Victoria mayor Lisa Helps. 

Among the events, winning the contest for the biggest living Canadian flag is a moment that stands out for the city’s mayor. 

“We challenged the mayors of Calgary and Winnipeg,” says Mayor Helps, “they’re bigger cities but Calgary had 3,100 [people]. Winnipeg had 3,300 and we had 5,004 people so it’s a victory for Victoria. ”

The eleven days of celebrations in Victoria cost an estimated $800k, most of which was covered by sponsors and federal grants, says Helps. 

Organizers say big crowds were likely drawn by Canada’s milestone birthday but they say mother nature too had a helping hand sending nothing but sunshine in the capital region.

“The weather is paramount to success, I’ve worked in really rough conditions weather wise, and it brings everyone’s moral down so to have this unbelievable weather was a miracle,” says Adam Duron of Atomique Productions. 

As the party ends, the countdown begins for the country’s next landmark birthday: Canada 200.

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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