Alderney Landing crowding on Canada Day prompts complaints

Officials with the Halifax Regional Municipality say they'll review the Canada Day events at Alderney Landing after some complaints the area was overcrowded.

Witness says event turned to 'large crush' of revellers as they tried to get on and off the ferry

Dan Brennan took the ferry to Dartmouth and took this photo of Canada Day crowds at the Alderney Landing Ferry Terminal. (Supplied by Dan Brennan)

Officials with the Halifax Regional Municipality say they'll review the Canada Day events at Alderney Landing after some complaints the area was overcrowded.

Dan Brennan, who took the ferry to Dartmouth to watch the fireworks from the upper deck of the boat, said he noticed a "large crush of people" as his ferry pulled into the dock.

"It was really hard to exit the doorway leaving the ferry terminal," he told CBC News. "The lineup was so long, people were lined up past it and blocking the entire hallway."

Brennan immediately got in line to take the ferry back toward Halifax.

"I stood there for the better part of an hour and as the time passed, the lineup got a little thicker and people started to get packed in a little bit further," he said.

Jennifer Stairs, a spokeswoman for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said staff planned for a bigger crowd and arranged for free ferry service. Metro Transit bus service was on a holiday schedule, meaning fewer buses were on the roads.

Stairs said from the city's perspective, the event went very well.

"We had no incidents at all that were reported to us on the concert site," she said.

Some Canada Day concert goers have complained the area surrounding the Alderney Landing concert site was overcrowded. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

"We were very pleased. Nothing violent, no reports of underage drinking that we're aware of. So by all accounts, the event itself, on the concert site, went very well."

Brennan is critical of the security and questions if it was enough.

The city estimates 10,000 people ended up on the Dartmouth waterfront, compared to the usual 7,000 spectators.

"They would have worked with Halifax Regional Police to determine what sort of security would be needed on site for a crowd of that size," Stairs said.

"They would have worked on numbers based on previous years keeping in mind that we were expecting a few more, so that would have been adjusted accordingly for that."

Brennan said from what he saw, there were other things that contributed to the cramped situation.

"Alcohol was a factor," he said. "There were a lot of people who were laughing and joking, there were some people looking a little nauseous, some people weren't happy to be there.

"The noticeable part was how tight everyone was packed in."

Brennan said as he stood in the packed ferry terminal, people started to talk about the stabbing and shooting that happened just off the concert site.

Both the city and Halifax Regional Police said they will be reviewing the events of Tuesday night — as is routine with major events — to see what, if anything, can be done differently next year to make sure things run more smoothly.


  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed comments about the preparation of the Halifax Regional Police to Dan Brennan. In fact, the comments were made by Jennifer Stairs, a spokeswoman with the Halifax Regional Municipality.
    Jul 03, 2014 10:17 AM AT