British Columbia

Celebration of Light returns to illuminate Vancouver sky

India, Croatia and Canada will all be vying for first place

What you need to know to enjoy the festival

Fireworks light up the sky at the 2018 Honda Celebration of Light festival. The fireworks display returns July 27, 2019. (CBC)

Canada, India and Croatia will be competing for the best fireworks display at this year's Honda Celebration of Light festival. The 29th annual show kicks off Saturday with India's Amir Morani Fireworks taking the stage. 

Canada will perform July 31 and Croatia's Mirnovec Fireworks is set to dazzle crowds Aug. 3.

Take a virtual tour of the fireworks barge and watch crews get ready for the big show

CBC went on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Celebration of Light fireworks barge in English Bay. 1:45

With tens of thousands expected to stream into Downtown Vancouver and surrounding areas like previous years, there are a few things to keep in mind while planning to attend the popular summer event. 

Where to watch

People crowd onto the beach at English Bay in anticipation of Team Sweden's fireworks show at the Celebration of Light festival in 2018. (Denis Dossmann/CBC)

All three shows will start promptly at 10 p.m. According to the organization's website, there are a few vantage points to enjoy the show from which include English Bay, Kitsilano/Vanier Park as well as Second Beach. 

Road closures

The Celebration of Light website says road closures are in effect from 7 p.m. in the West End, including Davie, Denman and Beach Avenue. It also advised that access roads into Kits Point will be closed from 6 p.m. It said once crowds have thinned out and police have given the all-clear, roads should reopen around 11.

The website says residents will be allowed to enter and exit at certain access points but must have recent proof of address and display a valid residential parking permit. 

Instead of driving, organizers say riding a bike to the festival is a great idea. There will be a complimentary bike valet operating from 3 p.m. the night of the fireworks at The Park Stage at Second Beach and at 4 p.m. on July 31 and Aug. 3 at Sunset Beach.

How to navigate transit

In a news release, TransLink says the following changes will be in effect July 27, July 31, and Aug. 3:

SkyTrain: 

  • Expo and Millennium Lines will run peak service with all available trains in service starting mid-afternoon, and the last scheduled train leaving Waterfront Station at 1:16 a.m.
  • Canada Line will provide rush-hour level service all evening, with every train in service following the fireworks. Last train will depart Waterfront at 1:15 a.m. bound for the Richmond-Brighouse Station

Bus:

  • Shuttle buses to English Bay: from Burrard Station to Denman and Robson (7 p.m. until 10 p.m.) and from Yaletown Station to Burrard and Davie streets (6:45 p.m. until 10 p.m.). 
  • Return shuttles to SkyTrain Stations (starting after the fireworks until demand subsides): from Georgia and Denman to Burrard Station and from Burrard and Davie to Yaletown Station.
  • Due to road closures on Davie Street, Route 5 and Route 6 will be detoured. Details about the detours can be found here

Seabus:

  • SeaBus service will run with 15-minute service until 12:30 a.m. and then 30-minute service until the last sailing to Lonsdale Quay at 1:22 a.m.

West Coast Express:

  • On Aug. 3 only: a full-service train will depart Mission at 7 p.m. and arrive at Waterfront at 8:15 p.m. A return train will depart Waterfront Station at midnight.

On its website, TransLink said to plan a route in advance, anticipate crowds and either pre-purchase or load Compass Cards/Tickets to avoid lines. 

With files from Tamara Baluja

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