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Award-winning rockers Big Sugar coming to Port Coquitlam for Canada Day

The alt-rock band is replacing April Wine after "unforeseen circumstances" forced them to pull out of Port Coquitlam's July 1 celebrations.
Big Sugar is now slated to perform on Canada Day July 1, 2023, in Port Coquitlam's Castle Park alongside Chad Brownlee.

Nothing like a nice helping of sugar to kickstart a birthday party.

Big Sugar was unveiled Wednesday (June 7) as the replacement for April Wine for Port Coquitlam's Canada Day 2023 event, treating the city to some of their sweet songs of the 1990s and early 2000s.

"Unforeseen circumstances" forced April Wine to pull out of the celebrations the night of July 1, PoCo staff stated.

Chad Brownlee will remain as the headline act in Castle Park, which means Big Sugar will open for the evening concert before the fireworks.

Official times for both shows are still being scheduled.

Big Sugar is known for its blues rock and reggae alternative mix, which has racked up multiple gold and platinum albums over the course of the band's 35-year career.

Notable singles consist of Diggin' A Hole, Turn the Lights On, Sleep In Late, If I Had My Way and The Scene.

The Toronto-based group has also received five Juno nominations in that span, including Best New Group (1995), Rock Album of the Year (1997) and Group of the Year (1998).

Big Sugar is also known for its unique sound, which has ultimately led to a large following in Canada, North America and around the world.

In fact, in 2017, the four-piece band earned one of Canadian music's most prestigious honours — the Road Gold Award — recognizing them for selling at least 25,000 tickets in a single year during a nation-wide tour.

This is the second time in four years Big Sugar will take a Canada Day stage in the Tri-Cities after rocking live in Port Moody's Rocky Point Park in 2019.

Meanwhile, Chad Brownlee is a critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning country music artist from Kelowna.

Brownlee's signature sound blends elements of pop, country and rock, drawing equal inspiration from the classic country sounds of the 80s and the modern pop country sounds of the 2000s.

What's on tap for PoCo Canada Day?

PoCo Canada Day 2023 will start with a Lions Club pancake breakfast and fishing derby at Lions Park from 8 to 11 a.m.

The fishing derby is free for kids under 10 years of age and no advanced registration is required.

Then, from 12 p.m. onward, a slate of free music, entertainment and activities will take place in Castle Park.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to being a beach chair and blanket so they may be comfortable and enjoy the all-day celebration. The fireworks finale is tentatively scheduled to start at 10 p.m.

Beverage garden

  • Boardwalk Brewing
  • Nice Life Co.
  • Patina Brewing
  • Taylight Brewing
  • Tinhouse Brewing


  • Camion Café
  • Little Ooties
  • Praguery
  • Reel Mac and Cheese
  • Salty’s Lobster Express
  • Sweet Tooth Creamery
  • PoCo Scouts BBQ
  • Assumption Youth Community Group (Cotton candy and popcorn)

Event-goers to downtown Port Coquitlam on July 1 are encouraged to take transit, walk or cycle or enjoy free round-trip shuttle services.

Shuttles will run every 30 minutes from noon to 10 p.m. (times may be delayed due to traffic) from the north and south sides of the city with more details set to be released closer to Canada Day.

Strollers will be allowed on the shuttles, and should be folded and placed in the luggage area of the bus.

For more information, including details for those interested in volunteering for the 2023 party, you can visit the city's website.

The Tri-City News is the media sponsor of Port Coquitlam's Canada Day event.

- with files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News