Cherished B.C. holiday events postponed until at least Dec. 7

Bright Nights in Stanley Park is an annual tradition for thousands of Metro Vancouver families, and many local firefighters.

“Having stood at the gate and collected donations, you see the same families over and over again. It's a bright spot for their Christmas tradition,” said Gord Ditchburn, the president of the Professional Firefighters Burn Fund.

Bright Nights, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Burn Fund, is one of several popular outdoor holiday events that have been postponed until at least Dec. 7. Others include VanDusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights, Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the Magic of Christmas at Butchart Gardens.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean things need to be cancelled. So we are looking at if we are are able to get into a place of control, then some of these lower risk events may happen again," provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Monday. "But right now, we need to stop all of those opportunities for us to congregate to go out and do things socially."

To try to make up for the loss of in-person donations at Bright Nights, which was scheduled to open this week, the Burn Fund is doing an online 50/50 draw.

“For families who’ve come traditionally ... the donations you would normally throw our way as you walk into the park, send to the Burn Fund  or buy a 50/50 ticket,” said Ditchburn. "It makes a difference."

Because the Winter Lights event at the PNE is a drive-thru experience where no one socializes outside their vehicle, organizers are hopeful it will able to open as planned on Dec. 11.

“We are going to continue planning and we are going to continue selling tickets as we have done this event, very similarly based on the exact same protocols since May,” said PNE spokesperson Laura Ballance.

The City of Vancouver is also hopeful Bright Nights and VanDusen's Festival of Lights will happen a little closer to a Christmas.

“The good news is we had it ready, we were ready to go for this week, so it shouldn’t take an awful lot to re-open this these Vancouver gems,” said Parks Board general manager Donnie Rosa. “You know what? It’s Christmas, anything can happen.”

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