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New Westminster earns B.C. award for Shine Bright New West

It helped to create connectedness during the pandemic , and it's being hailed as a model for other B.C. communities to follow.
Shine Bright New West
Light displays, seen here during the holiday season in downtown New Westminster in 2021, were part of the award-winning Shine Bright New West.

The City of New Westminster has earned B.C. honours for Shine Bright New West.

The B.C. Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) presented its inaugural Festivals and Events Excellence Award to the City of New Westminster today for Shine Bright New West.

The award recognizes innovative events "that are successful in improving individual and community-level connectedness, social and physical well-being, and engagement," as a media release notes.

The release says Shine Bright New West "incorporates the breadth of New Westminster’s vibrant community culture under one umbrella event." City staff came up with the idea early in the COVID-19 pandemic, using the opportunity to focus on bringing community members together in the spirit of hope and to forge a deeper connection between event planning and positive community impact.

Activities included light displays, outdoor concerts and cultural festivities, themed evening shopping events with local merchants, and an interactive light display map of the entire community. Shine Bright New West has now evolved to become the city's annual holiday event series and serves as a model of inclusion and community engagement for communities across B.C., the release notes.

“The City of New Westminster’s Shine Bright New West event is a highly deserving recipient of the first ever BCRPA Festivals and Events Award. At a time when pandemic fears and lack of connection were at their peak, this event cut through the barriers to create a true experience of community support and celebration,” said Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO of the B.C. Recreation and Parks Association, in the release.

The Festivals and Events Excellence Award is one of five provincial Awards of Excellence presented during BCRPA’s annual symposium conference in Whistler. 

The Oliver Parks and Recreation Society earned an honourable mention in the same category for its 100X100 Festival.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca.