On Thursday, Mayor Kennedy Stewart announced the launch of a new Office for Night Time Economy aimed at boosting Vancouver’s nightlife.
“People love the mountains and water, but why you come to cities is because you want to have a good time and have experiences you can’t have anywhere else,” said Stewart during a Thursday morning news conference.
“It’s the heartbeat of any major city.”
A team run by the Hospitality Vancouver Association (HVAN) will manage the office on an interim basis, spending the summer consulting with industry experts from various fields, including the service industry, transportation, police, arts and culture, and tourism.
“I genuinely look forward to the day that we can have announcements about what’s happening in downtown Vancouver and our hospitality industry that start at 9:30 at night,” said Nolan Marshall III, president and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.
The mayor’s office tells CTV News it’s already looking into increasing capacity limits and extending closing hours to 3 am for bars and night clubs in the downtown core.
The idea was inspired by other well-known international cities.
“Leading cities like London, New York and Amsterdam benefit from having a comprehensive strategy for their night-time economy — those hours between 6 pm and 6 am that define a city’s dynamism and vitality,” said Royce Chwin, president and CEO of Destination Vancouver .
The idea of a night-time strategy isn’t new. Back in 2018, city council even heard from the Amsterdam Night Mayor, a direct advisor to the Mayor of Amsterdam.
Some believe the announcement could be a game-changer for the service industry.
“People say Vancouver is a no fun city. It’s not, because we’ve got the consumers and the businesses that are ready to go,” said Jeff Guignard, executive director of the BC Alliance of Beverage Licensees.
“This is really exciting.”
The Vancouver Police Department tells CTV News it will need time to evaluate any changes made by the city. However, a VPD spokesperson says bigger crowds and more people entering the city would result in more police service calls.
The Mayor’s office tells CTV News that the VPD will be part of the consultation process.
The Office for Night Time Economy report is due in the fall.