Canada Day fireworks on the Fraser

The Canada Day fireworks in New Westminster are back, but the pyrotechnic show during the Hyack Festival is out for 2013.

The Hyack Festival Association executive director Douglas Smith said moving fireworks to July 1 is a better time to hold the show instead of in May when it can be cold and windy. In addition, between fireworks switching between Hyack and FraserFest the last few years there was confusion about when they would be.

"We've always been torn as to when we should be doing fireworks," said Smith. "We just think the best solution is to commit to fireworks on Canada Day, which appears to be the most appropriate day and stick to it so the community gets used to it being on Canada Day."

While many Canada Day activities will be done at Westminster Pier Park, Smith said the plan is to have a barge on the Fraser River that will enable spectators from the west end of the Quay boardwalk all the way to the pier park will be able to have a good view.

While Canada Day is on the association's calendar, RiverFest is not. In 2012, Hyack dumped its annual summer FraserFest celebrations to partner with the Fraser River Discovery Centre (FRDC) for RiverFest to honour World Rivers Day in late September. Smith said Hyack did its own thing while the centre did its during the inaugural event, and now that it has been set up the FRDC can carry it on.

The association is looking to expand on its introduction of the Uptown Live celebration following the annual Hyack parade, as well as the summer concert series on the boardwalk.

The Christmas Parade of Lights will return Dec. 7, but after last year's rain-filled experience the association is looking toward adding some indoor activities throughout the festive season in 2014 taking advantage of the Anvil Centre currently under construction across from Hyack Square.

"We're trying to get a calendar of events on firm ground," said Smith. "It's a long-range strategy to build something that is strong and sustainable."

Smith said the organization is proud it was able to take the $140,000 grant from the City of New Westminster and leverage it into $210,000 being spent on events without the city having to cover any staffing or administrative costs.

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