British Columbia

Vancouver gears up for Canucks' Game 5

Thousands of anxious Canucks fan are expected to pack into downtown Vancouver on Friday as Roberto Luongo is set to start in the net in Game Five of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins.

Thousands of anxious Canucks fan are expected to pack into downtown Vancouver Friday as Roberto Luongo is set to start in the net in Game Five of the Stanley Cup final against the Boston Bruins.

The city expects the largest crowds of the playoffs as the Canucks return to the city for a crucial home game, which starts at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET).

Several blocks of traffic on busy Georgia Street have been blocked off at 2 p.m. PT in previous games to allow fans to watch the event outside on giant screens, but on Friday crews are closing those streets two hours earlier to prepare.

The Canucks have lost the previous two games, leaving the series with the Boston Bruins tied at two games each. The best-of-seven series will go at least two more games — with the Stanley Cup being awarded either Monday or Wednesday — and ticket sellers say that means Friday's game has lost a lot of its value.

Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver says the cost of the Stanley Cup keeps rising.

The city said it is now spending $110,000 each game night to keep the downtown Vancouver live sites up and running — costs that include big screen televisions and fencing.

In total, the city expects to spend $680,000 if the series goes to Game 7 — and that doesn't include overall policing costs.

But Simon Fraser University marketing professor Lindsay Meredith said generally speaking, all exposure is good exposure for the city.

"Spending $680,000 on live site television to pull people into the downtown core has its goods and bads. You can generate a lot of business, but the bad side? Those heavy policing costs when all those guys get a little too much beer … and then decide to rearrange Robson Street," Meredith said.

"[The] bottom line is it's probably a good thing overall. We just have to be careful how we quantify how good a thing it truly is."

Vancouver City Hall will debate opening its reserve funds to pay for the live sites at a meeting next week.

Vancouver police estimate they will spend $650,000 policing the Stanley Cup.

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With files from The Canadian Press