British Columbia

Celebration of Light kicks off with spectacular show from team Netherlands

The team from the Netherlands was the first to thrill onlookers at the Honda Celebration of Light, which will see up to 500,000 people squeeze into Vancouver's West End each night for three separate fireworks shows.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators took in fireworks from English Bay

A team from the Netherlands kicked off the 2016 Celebration of Light in Vancouver on Saturday, July 23, 2016. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

The team from the Netherlands was the first to thrill onlookers at the Honda Celebration of Light, which will see up to 500,000 people squeeze into Vancouver's West End each night for three separate fireworks shows.

This couple were two of the 300,000 people that police estimate attended the 26th annual Celebration of Light in English Bay on July 23, 2016. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

It's the 26th year of the popular event which began Saturday at 10 p.m. PT.

Police estimated the crowd was smaller than in other years, with up to 300,000 people finding a spot either on the beach or on vessels in English Bay to watch the show.

Hundreds of police officers worked the event to keep people safe and there were about 200 pour-outs of alcohol and a few lost children who were all eventually reunited with their families, said VPD.

Police urged those heading to the fireworks to use transit and to allow extra time to reach the viewing areas. TransLink says it will have additional buses and trains to accommodate the event.

Team Netherlands put on a 25-minute firework show and was followed by Australia on July 27. A team from the U.S. will take the final night on July 30. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

Davie Street, Denman Street and Beach Avenue, which were closed for the event, reopened once crowds have dispersed at approximately 11:30 p.m. PT.

Vancouver city officials asked people to pack up their garbage before they left the area, saying previous fireworks shows have left too much waste on the ground.

The next fireworks show as part of the festival will be on July 27, when Australia will light up the sky. The U.S. team will go on the final night on July 30.

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