The Co Londonderry born Mayor of Burnaby in Canada is bidding to emulate Council’s Halloween celebrations in Canada.
Mike Hurley was born in Magherafelt in 1958 and moved to Canada in the early 1980s where he served in the Burnaby Fire Department for 30 years until his election as First Citizen last year.
During his four-year term he is hoping that Burnaby, which has a population of more than 230,000 people, can develop a Halloween festival to match Londonderry’s - voted the Best Halloween Destination in the World by USA Today.
“The Derry Halloween celebrations started after I moved to Canada but I’ve always followed it and I know a lot of people attend every year,” said Mayor Hurley, who is a former Under 21 Gaelic footballer with County Derry. “We are always looking for ideas to bring commerce to our city, our hospitality industry isn’t as busy at this time of year so we feel it is an opportunity to bring in more visitors and hopefully build something. We know it will take time if we are ever to reach the scale of the Derry celebrations and that’s why we are sending over a delegation to see if we can learn more. We’ll have a look and hopefully see what aspects we can emulate. We have a major river at both sides of our city and two lakes so there’s the opportunity to possibly have a fireworks display on the water like Derry.”
The five-person delegation includes Executive Director of Tourism Burnaby, Chris Peters. Mr Peters said: “I had a look online at some of the videos and news stories, I have to say I was really impressed and we decided to make the trip to Derry for this year’s festival to learn more. We want to host our first festival in 2020. Halloween night falls on a Saturday next year so there’s a chance to have a three-day festival over the weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If we can build the festival’s scale and profile each year we would hope to have a week long festival similar to Derry’s by 2025.”
Highlights of this year’s Londonderry Halloween include the Awakening the Walls trail, the Carnival Parade and fireworks finale.