Sunny weather, Canada’s first pro cycling night races, and a family-friendly street festival greeted the close to 10,000 people who gathered in Port Coquitlam Friday for the third annual PoCo Grand Prix presented by Dominion Lending Centres.
Port Coquitlam’s largest city-hosted event transformed the downtown with a 1.3-km race circuit, free live entertainment and children’s activities, a Kids’ Race, Corporate Challenge races, the Biz Expo tradeshow, food vendors, beverage garden, VIP experience for sponsors, and more.
Changes this year included a later start time – with the first races starting at 3:15 p.m. – along with exciting night-time races under the lights and an expanded licensed area in Leigh Square. The event is part of BC Superweek, which took place July 6 to 15 in five Metro Vancouver cities and is Canada’s largest professional road cycling series.
“The addition of a street festival makes the PoCo Grand Prix unique from other cycling races. It brings such great energy to our downtown and to Port Coquitlam as a whole,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “Watching the racers speed by under the lights this year really added to the exciting atmosphere downtown. We continue to get kudos from our community about the pro races, the popular kid’s races and the festive feeling created by the live entertainment in Leigh Square.”
- Approximately 10,000 people in attendance throughout the day,
- Approximately 216 elite and pro men and women riders,
- Approximately 30 riders in the BC Superweek Youth Race,
- Forty-eight riders in the Corporate Challenge recreational or competitive categories who used the same track as the pros,
- 331 riders from ages 3 to 12 in the Kids’ Race, using the pro track,
- About 200 volunteers involved at the ground level, doing everything from setup and takedown to marshalling, fencing, fundraising and first aid,
- Twenty Biz Expo vendors, and
- Thirty-one sponsors, including presenting sponsor Dominion Lending Centres.
“The PoCo Grand Prix and the new Shaughnessy Street Pop-up Park that opened Friday are just a few of the things we do as a city to help support local businesses,” said Cllr. Brad West, who chairs the Smart Growth Committee. “Events and projects like these encourage residents to get out into the community and use local services, while also exposing visitors to everything Port Coquitlam has to offer.”
Public interest in the event continues to grow. Attendance rose from 5,000 in 2016 to 7,500 in 2017 to an estimated 10,000 in 2018, with people coming and going throughout the event based on what activities interested them. As well, many of the 2018 sponsors returned from previous years, including presenting sponsor Dominion Lending Centres. Businesses contributing cash or services this year included gold sponsors Norco Bicycles, Phoenix Truck & Crane, TELUS and The Giggle Dam Dinner Theatre; and silver sponsors The Tri-City News, Nick Polessky Family, Mahony & Sons, Ventana Construction and Architecture 49, Kettle Valley Winery, De Dutch Pannekoek House restaurant and Arctic Meat & Sausage.
“As a member of BC Superweek, it is special to see the community of the City of Port Coquitlam embrace professional cycling, said Race Director Mark Ersting. “The atmosphere around the course was electrifying and having the last race of the evening run under lights was and will continue to be one of the coolest experiences for both the spectators and athletes.”
In the months to come, the city will complete a thorough review of the 2018 event to identify ways to continue to improve for next year.
Photos and racer standings can be found at www.pocograndprix.ca.
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