The Forks is well-known as a historic meeting place for Manitobans, and the 2019 Canada Day celebrations carried on that tradition, with more than 100,000 people gathering at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red Rivers on holiday Monday.
Larissa Peck, communication coordinator for the Forks, told 680 CJOB the turnout for the fireworks, live concerts and more was due in part to the ‘perfect’ weather as well as the pedestrian-friendly nature of the holiday event.
“It’s a very pedestrian-heavy day,” said Peck.
“A lot of people come by foot or by bike. We had over 1,000 bikes at one point in the free bike valet, so we do like to make the place as safe as possible for pedestrians.”
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This year also marks the first Canada Day in which the new licensed outdoor common area has been available for Forks patrons.
“It’s really nice to see that people are coming there to meet, and that’s exactly what we’ve intended,” said Peck.
“Now you can have a glass of wine or a beer, so those patios – the entire area is licensed – so we see all kinds of people either having lunch they’ve purchased at the market and having a beer, or having a brown bag lunch they brought from home. It’s nice to see a real mix.”
Despite the huge crowds, Peck said the only drama involved a few sunburns. The Forks, she said, works closely with the Winnipeg Police Service to make sure things run smoothly.
“It’s definitely something we plan well in advance. We’re a bit of a well-oiled machine on that front. We’ve been doing this for a number of years,” she said.
“We do have a great relationship with the WPS for big event days like this.”
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