Vancouver's Celebration of Light, Canada

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Vancouver's Celebration of Light is the largest firework competition in the world, attracting around 1.6 million spectators every year. In 2009, Canada, South Africa, the UK and China do battle during four nights of amazing displays over English Bay. Each country presents a full display, with dates as follows; Canada on 22 July, South Africa on 25 July, the UK on 29 July and China on 1 August. Each show lasts about 25 minutes and local firefighters raise funds for the continuing festival and the Vancouver Fire Fighters Charitable Society.

The event takes place in English Bay at 10:00 PDT on four nights, beginning on a Wednesday and ending on a Saturday, over a two week period during July and August. Each of the four performances have at least a three-day separation for preparation for the next competitor. Three companies representing their countries perform a twenty-five minute firework display set to music. A grand finale is performed on the last day by all the competitors.

Over 1.6 million spectators come to the closest viewing points at the West End, Kitsilano, and Stanley Park to view the event, many of them coming from outside British Columbia. The traffic is closed in the West End and Kits Point each year starting with different time. Roads open again at 11:30 p.m. Vancouver Police, British Columbia Ambulance Service, Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services, City of Vancouver Parks & Recreation Lifeguard, St. John Ambulance volunteers, the Canadian Coast Guard, VECTOR (Vancouver Emergency Community Telecommunications Organization, composed of federally licensed amateur radio volunteers), and other volunteers all collaborate to provide assistance with potential emergencies with the large crowds present at the Celebration of Light.

The event is free to watch from public parks and beaches. The best places to watch are English Bay, Kitsilano, Vanier Park, Jericho Beach and West Vancouver. Music simulcast begins at 10:00 p.m. on radio station SHORE 104fm. Estimated annual attendance: 1.6 million people.

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