Monday, 15 August 2011

Vancouver’s Celebration of Light

Like most people, Jules and I are suckers for a good fireworks display and we were fortunate that our visit to Vancouver coincided with the annual ‘Celebration of Light’ festivities. This is a popular event that has been running over the summer holidays since 1990, inviting selected countries from throughout the world to display and be judged upon their pyrotechnic skills. Following an all too familiar format, each country selects an appropriate theme and music for a dazzling display of fireworks. During our stay it was the ‘Battle of the Champions’ with China, Spain and Canada competing for national pride. As is the case each year, there would be well over a million spectators over the three nights cheering each country on. By 9pm on the big nights we could see the crowds make their way from the city toward the waters edge. There, a flotilla of boats was already in position in the harbour, much as they are for Sydney’s New Years Eve fireworks celebrations. By 10pm the fuses were lit and the show was off and running as the sky lit up with fireworks accompanied by a sound track of classics and covers. Each show lasts for about half an hour so that’s a lot of fireworks thrown into the air, all leading toward an explosive crescendo. Now, Jules and I often debate the value of such events and the financial costs involved and how the funds could possibly be used for more worthy causes. In the end I guess it could be argued that there is considerable tourist revenue generated from such events, but you certainly can’t underestimate the value of such sky shows in bringing the local community together. We could definitely sense the positive mood as mostly Vancouverites sat on their picnic blankets by the banks of the harbour enjoying the summer evening. In the end the display was quite spectacular. If you’re wondering who won the event, the 2011 winner was …(drum roll) China! Not that anyone was too concerned, they all went over with a bang!

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