Vancouver’s first public Canucks viewing party a success, say fans and neighbours

The City of Vancouver’s first attempt at hosting a public viewing event for the Vancouver Canucks’ playoff run is getting a thumbs-up from neighbours and attendees.

About 600 people came out to Oak Meadows Park near West 37th Avenue and Oak Street to watch the Canucks down the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 on Sunday evening.

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“It all went fine, the party went off well, it wasn’t too noisy, everyone was well-behaved and it was an excellent time,” neighbour Bob Wickett told Global News.

Vancouver was late to the viewing party game, hosting its first municipally-sponsored event on Sunday for Game 3 of Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, weeks after communities like Delta and Port Coquitlam started screening games.

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In April, Mayor Ken Sim explained the city’s reticence to hold public events, citing the pair of hockey riots that left a mark on the city’s psyche.

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“We have to be incredibly responsible and thoughtful,” Sim said at the time. “We have a history of 1994 and 2011.”

Oak Meadows Park, tucked into a quiet residential neighbourhood and far from Vancouver’s downtown core, was the city’s solution to concerns.

With space for up to 2,000 people but designed to evoke a more community feel, the style of the event was also backed by the Vancouver police.

“We actually have traffic management all over the area,” Sim told Global News ahead of Sunday night’s event.

“I can tell you a lot of people just from the neighbourhood are coming in, so it’s a great option for people who want to celebrate in a fun way together with other Vancouverites.”

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Click to play video: 'Canucks fans flock to game 3 watch parties'

Canucks fans flock to game 3 watch parties

Attendees Global News spoke with said they came from as nearby as across the street to as far as Surrey and Richmond.

The park’s distance from rapid transit and proximity to residential homes raised eyebrows when the venue was first announced but on Monday neighbours said there were few, if any, problems.

“It seemed very, very well organized and there was enough police presence I think,” neighbour Frank MacLeod said.

“No vandalism, no nothing.”

The family-friendly viewing parties are scheduled to continue rain or shine at the park, with the next event scheduled for Tuesday evening.

If the Canucks make it to Round 3 of the playoffs, the city plans to host a 6,000-person capacity event at the Pacific National Exhibition fairgrounds.

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“This is just a start,” Sim said.

“You can feel it, you can feel it build with every single game, it’s super exciting to be a Canucks fan at this point in time.”

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