British Columbia·Video

Celebration of Light set to fire up the nighttime sky over Vancouver

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

What you need to know to enjoy the fireworks festival on Saturday

The best vantage points according to festival organizers are Second Beach, English Bay and Vanier Park. Cypress lookout also offers a birds-eye view of the show and one North shore option is Dundarave Beach. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Three teams from three continents hope to dazzle your senses in this year's downtown fireworks face-off.

Kicking off the show on Saturday is South Africa's Fireworks for Africa. 

On Aug. 1, Sweden's Unique Pyrotechnic will take to the skies, followed by South Korea's Daehan Fireworks Co., Aug 4. 

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

Behind the scenes of the Celebration of Lights

4 years ago
Duration 1:58
Have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes at a fireworks show? We got a first-hand look.

Love is in the air

"For the first time ever, all three participating countries will be required to incorporate the same theme into their fireworks display and musical accompaniment. As voted by the public, this year's theme will be Love," the Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society said in a statement.

As in years past, tens of thousands of people are expected to flood the downtown core

Organizers and transit police say it would be best to walk or bike to the event, if you are able to do so, but if you are one of the 15,000 people TransLink expects to take transit into the downtown core, the transit service says you can expect extended hours and a number of service changes.

It's also reminding passengers to top up their Compass cards early to avoid lineups.

Transit in a nutshell

Skytrain

  • ​The Expo and Millennium lines will operate at peak service levels from mid-afternoon
  • The Canada Line will operate at peak service levels throughout the evening
  • Extra service from Waterfront available at the end of the fireworks with trains running every three minutes

SeaBus

  • Leaving every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. until midnight
  • Last SeaBus from Waterfront is at 1:22 a.m.
  • Extra SeaBus in service between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Bus

  • Coast Mountain Bus Company and West Vancouver Transit will operate extra trips after 6:30 p.m.
  • Some downtown and West End buses will be detoured. 

Where to watch

The fireworks show begins promptly at 10 p.m and those who arrive early will have the best shot at picking out their favourite spot.

For the rest. the best vantage points, according to festival organizers, are Second Beach, English Bay and Vanier Park.

Cypress Lookout also offers a birds-eye view of the show and one North Shore option is Dundarave Beach.

If a bustling beach night isn't your style, you can always shell out for a reservation at one of the festival lounge spots or at a local restaurant. 

If watching from the water in English Bay, Transport Canada is reminding boaters to position themselves outside the exclusion perimeter marked by marine buoys. These buoys mark the safe perimeter and, officials say, are not to be used as mooring points.

Drones not allowed

Police are reminding the public that drones are not allowed at the event and cannot be flown over the fireworks.

Read more from CBC British Columbia ​

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Wilson

Associate Producer, CBC Vancouver.

Reach Jennifer at jennifer.wilson@cbc.ca or on Twitter @wilsjea

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