As many as 300,000 people are expected flock to the Celebration of Light fireworks competition Wednesday night, as Team Canada prepares to light up the sky over English Bay.

The show will be the second night of the annual musical fireworks competition and will see Team Canada present a fireworks display with "A Wonderful World/Into a Raging River" theme.

Canada face off against the UK and first-timers Thailand in this year's competition. Team UK presented their James Bond-themed show on Saturday, while Thailand will give its presentation Aug. 3.

Police presence

Const. Brian Montague says Vancouver police will once again be out in force on the ground and on the water, with hundreds of extra officers downtown to keep an eye on crowds and watch for people drinking in public.


The fireworks competition has an estimated annual attendance of 1.4 million people. (Conrad Olson)

"When you have people drinking and intoxicated in such a large crowd, it can become really problematic very quickly. We want to prevent those problems from happening in the first place," he said.

"We're trying to make sure that everyone feels safe in those large crowds."

Montague says there will be officers on foot, on bicycle, on ATVs and on horseback. Air One will also be in the air, monitoring the crowds.

Boaters warned

The VPD marine unit has also been out all day checking boats on the water, making sure boaters have operator cards, life jackets and working lights. 

Sgt. Norm Webster said that's just one of the challenges.

"The other being people that aren't familiar with the area. There are charts available for all of the waterways leading into False Creek," he said.

Six boaters had a close call Saturday after the fireworks, when their vessel got stranded on rocks near Richmond. The family was later rescued.

The squad also impounded two vessels for impaired boating, and Webster is warning people not to drink and boat.

"Impaired operation of a motor vessel is the exact same as impaired operation of a vehicle. It is a criminal code offence and you will be arrested."

Police only arrested a few people for being intoxicated during Saturday's fireworks, but more than 600 people had their liquor poured out.  

The West End will be closed to non-local traffic beginning around 7.30 p.m. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m..