An August Spectacle
Shimmering light dances across the sky. Explosions of colour paint the night. The aurora borealis? If you were in the more northern latitudes of Canada during the wintry months, the answer would be yes. But it’s August, you’re in Vancouver and you’re getting ready for a Northern Light show of a different sort.
For 22 years, Vancouver has played host to Celebration of Light, one of the most prestigious fireworks competitions in the world. Every year, at least two countries are invited to burn brightly, shoot higher and blow the competition out of the sky. 2012 sees China, Canada and the defending champ, Spain, vying for the title.
The largest offshore fireworks competition in the world is also, in part, a musical festival, with the pyrotechnics bursting to a backdrop of music. The explosions are carefully orchestrated to the rhythm of their musical selections. In 2009, Team Canada’s tour-de-force performance was synced to The Wizard of Oz soundtrack. Canada didn’t compete in 2010, perhaps having spent all their fireworks in the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The winner is determined by a panel of judges, who award points for overall concept, colour use, originality in design, quality of fireworks and music synchronization and selection. There’s also the possibility the judges are influenced by the applauding throng, who flock in the thousands to the beaches for the 3-4 day late-summer event.
The best views for the grand spectacle may be found at the English Bay Bleacher Grandstand, where the fireworks are launched from off-shore barges. For these seats, and the stress-free privilege of beating the crowds, you do need tickets. And it’s as simple as having the Hotel’s Concierge purchase them for you.