British Columbia

Organizers cancel Pokémon Go meet-up planned for Stanley Park

Organizers have cancelled a planned Pokémon Go meet-up planned for Saturday afternoon in Stanley Park.

Despite cancellation, many on Facebook say they plan to visit Stanley Park to chase Pokémon anyway

A Pokémon Go player on their phone at Robson Square in Vancouver on Thursday, July 21, 2016 during a game meet-up with others. (G.P. Mendoza/CBC)

Organizers have cancelled a planned Pokémon Go meet-up planned for Saturday afternoon in Stanley Park. 

The event was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. PT and run well into the night while thousands flocked to nearby English Bay for the annual Celebration of Light fireworks display.

But yesterday, organizer Cheery Huang wrote on the event's Facebook page that event was formally being called off. 

"This was originally intended as a small gathering for friends, but it seems to have exponentially gained traction to encompass everyone across the Lower Mainland," Huang wrote. 

"For a crowd this size we would need to obtain special event permits from both the City of Vancouver and Stanley Park, and we were not able to do so given such a short timeframe."

Despite the news, many posting to the Facebook page insist they will still be visiting Stanley Park to hunt Pokémon this afternoon.

The free smartphone game, requires players to travel to real-world locations to catch monsters (Pokémon), collect items from Pokéstops and capture checkpoints, also known as gyms.

On Friday, enthusiasts also gathered at Robson Square to play the game as a busker entertained them with music.

Musician Stephen Lecky plays for Pokémon Go gamers at Robson Square in Vancouver despite some being more focused on their phones. (G.P. Mendoza/CBC)

"It was awesome, but everyone was looking at their phone," said Stephen Lecky. "We tried to get them to sing along, but it was pretty hard.

"It was like trying to peel paint to get them to interact."

Still players like Sam Su say the gatherings are actually quite social.

"You meet a lot of friends and your old friends come out that you haven't seen in awhile."

Still, Vancouver, along with other municipalities have struggled to keep up with the game as groups of players have descended on public and private areas, where trespassing and safety are issues.

Pokémon Go meet-ups like this one at Robson Square in Vancouver are actually, "pretty good social events," according to players like Sam Su. (G.P. Mendoza/CBC)

Victoria police have said on social media that they have pulled over drivers playing Pokémon Go and some people have posted video on YouTube which appears to show people engaging in risky behaviour while behind the wheel.

Meanwhile, UBC is getting in on the phenomenon as two psychology professors, Luke Clark and Amori Mikami, discuss why the game is so addictive and if it's here to stay.

"As you need to go outside and move around to progress in the game, I hope this might work as a natural barrier to the game becoming too addictive," said Luke Clark in the release.

"Personally, I'm most concerned about how many of my undergraduate class in September will be absorbed in the game when they should be listening to me!"

Meanwhile organizers of the Saturday meeting in Stanley Park say the location was chosen, "because it seems to be the best open area where we would not be loitering (not to mention the triple lure spot!)."

With files from Gian-Paolo Mendoza