Vancouver residents can expect bigger, better, and a few new events and festivals this year.
Earlier this week, on April 17, a number of local organizations received nearly three million dollars in funding from the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan).
The funding will go towards 14 projects in Vancouver via the Tourism Relief Fund.
Among the recipients are the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society, which hosts the annual Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), International Jazz Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and the Gastown Business Improvement Society (GBIS).
The investments are also expected to create around 430 new jobs and attract over 514,000 new local, national, and international visitors to Vancouver.
What does this new funding mean for Vancouver?
The PacifiCan grant aims to enliven local tourism and bring together both residents and visitors. This means that locals and tourists can expect new additions and features to established festivals and attractions, and entirely brand new events.
Here is what people can expect in Vancouver:
Beautification of Gastown
The Gastown neighbourhood, which houses a number tourist attractions and is a quaint brunch and shopping destination for locals, will see several upgrades.
A GBIS representative tells V.I.A. that the society is "very excited about" the funding and plans on using it towards creating more welcoming outdoor spaces throughout the neighbourhood.
The primary project is the beautification of Maple Tree Square Plaza, GBIS explains, which includes installing overhead catenary lighting and planters. The society will also be working on revitalizing Gastown laneways, such as installing an interactive art piece in Le Magasin Alley which connects Cordova and Cambie streets.
Other plans include additional overhead lighting at 321 Water St, outside of Al Porto, and tree lighting along Carrall Street, GBIS tells V.I.A.
New comedy arts venue
Comedy and theatre not-for-profit Little Mountain Gallery (LMG) has found a new home in Gastown after having to leave its Mount Pleasant home in December of 2021.
After more than a year and thousands of dollars in permit applications, LMG is now working on opening up their new space at 110 Water St, with additional help from the PacifiCan funding.
The new venue will feature a main theatre seating over 80 people, a second theatre and rehearsal space seating over 30 people, a separated main lobby and bar area, a green room, office space, and meeting room that will double as a podcast studio.
New and returning events
A number of local festivals and event organizers also received portions of the funding. Here is what locals can expect, from returning festivals to new events:
- The Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival which takes place in False Creek every summer will get 18 new dragon boats in time for the 2023 event.
- FlyOver Canada will create a new immersive film experience featuring the Canadian Rockies.
- A local production company will work on expanding an augmented reality exhibit in downtown Vancouver.
- VIFF will continue to host film screenings, conferences, live performances, and free outdoor programming.
- Latincouver will also continue to host public events celebrating Latin American Heritage Month through music, dance, literature, art, food, and workshops.
- The Punjabi Market Collective Society will use the funding to revitalize the city's historic Punjabi Market neighbourhood and establish two new cultural events.
- A project to renovate and relaunch the Granville Island Stage will also come to fruition and will include a refurbished lobby and lounge.
- The Vancouver International Jazz Festival will see a jazzy return following its pandemic hiatus.
- The funding will also help revitalize the Skwachàys Lodge and Granville Island's Vancouver Fringe Festival.