Premier retreats from plan to close Burrard Bridge for yoga

Om The Bridge yoga event cancelled after public backlash

Premier Christy Clark's plan for a yoga event occupying the Burrard Street Bridge ended Friday in a hasty retreat.

Premier Christy Clark's plan for a yoga event occupying the Burrard Street Bridge ended Friday in a hasty retreat.

Premier Christy Clark has scrapped her plan to close Vancouver’s Burrard Bridge to mark the International Day of Yoga after a public backlash prompted major sponsors to back out.

Clark had invited yogis to roll out their mats, practise their favourite poses and make history in an expert-led yoga session June 21 on the bridge.

Lululemon, YYoga and Altagas withdrew Friday and the premier soon followed suit after continued criticism of the seven-hour bridge closure, which was to cost $150,000.

The optics had grown worse as some first nations vowed to protest the Om The Bridge event for inappropriately coinciding with National Aboriginal Day.

“Unfortunately, the focus of the proposed Burrard Street Bridge event has drifted towards politics – getting in the way of the spirit of community and inner reflection,” Clark said in an emailed statement. “It was for that reason, I decided not to participate.”

Vancouver councillors had said Clark pushed the plan to stage the event on the closed bridge over their objections. Vancouver’s mayor had refused to participate.

Lululemon organizers apologized and said they’d look for another venue.

“Downward dogs with a few thousand of our closest friends seemed like the perfect way to celebrate International Day of Yoga. Until it wasn’t,” the yogawear maker said in a statement that promised to take a “deep cleansing breath” and reimagine an improved celebration of yoga. “Thanks for your understanding. Namaste.”