The city of Calgary will once again ring in the new year with fireworks shooting from atop the iconic Calgary Tower. Unlike last year, the city is inviting people to watch the show downtown in person.
The city's celebration is set to start just minutes before midnight and viewers can expect to see the colourful explosions across downtown and surrounding neighbourhoods. The show will also be livestreamed at calgary.ca/NYE.
According to the city, the festivities will start with a blessing from Indigenous Elder Clarence Wolfleg. After that, Mayor Jyoti Gondek will countdown to midnight and the begining of the launch of the eight minute fireworks show.
"2022 has been a year of renewed connections and the celebrations continue as we ring in the New Year," said Gondek in a statement.
For safety reasons, sections of Centre Street and 9th Avenue S.W. will be closed to vehicle traffic near the Calgary Tower, the city said. Some sidewalks around the area will also be closed.
The closures are expected to last roughly an hour, beginning at 11:30 p.m.
Throughout the evening, there'll be skating at the Olympic Plaza, and the ice will be open until midnight.
"If you're looking for something to do this evening, you can head downtown and get a skate in and watch the fireworks," said Jennifer Thompson, the city's manager of for arts and culture.
She said that the fireworks show will feature a synchronized soundtrack with Canadian artists curated by CJSW 90.9 FM.
While the city isn't sure how many people will turn out in person, Thompson noted that this will be the first New Year's Eve event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic where people will be encouraged to come downtown.
"We did have fireworks on top of the Calgary Tower last year, but with restrictions we really encouraged people to stay home and watch the live stream," she said.
"So, this is the first year that we are excited to have people out and watch in person if they are comfortable."
Across the river, Zoolights continues at the Calgary Zoo, where there'll be special activities for "Zoo Year's Eve."
The zoo's new year celebrations include some early evening options so children don't have to stay up until midnight.
At the Saddledome, hockey fans will watch the Calgary Flames play the rival Vancouver Canucks. Puck drop is set for 8 p.m.
For those planning to celebrate at bars and restaurants, Calgary Transit says buses will be on the road until 3 a.m., giving people who plan to drink a flute of champagne (or more) a safe option for the ride home.
Additionally, Calgary Transit's CTrains will run until 4 a.m. Sunday.
Ahead of the celebratory evening, law enforcement agencies have urged people not to drink and drive.
The Calgary Police Service is currently part of a checkstop campaign for the holiday season to help keep impaired drivers off the roads.
Those planning to be out late are also advised to dress appropriately.
"It is still winter, so please plan ahead," Thompson said.