July 23, 2016 9:03 pm
Updated: August 4, 2016 7:19 pm

What to know if you’re attending the Celebration of Light

WATCH: Thousands are gearing up for the annual Celebration of Light, and it's not the only event bringing crowds this weekend. Julia Foy reports.

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The 27th Honda Celebration of Light kicks off with a bang tonight in English Bay.

Up to 500,000 people are expected to watch each night of the three-day firework competition, which takes place from July 23 to 30.

It’s a spectacle of lights and music – but requires some preparation if you want to make the most of attending.

Here’s what you need to know.

Who’s performing?


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Netherlands (represented by Royal Fireworks) is performing on July 23, Australia (represented by Howard and Sons Pyrotechnics) is performing on July 27, and the United States (represented by the Walt Disney Company) is performing on July 30.

Each performance will begin at 10 p.m., lasting 25 minutes.

What roads are closed?

Most people congregate at either Kits Beach, Vanier Park, Stanley Park and Sunset Beach – and there are major road restrictions in each area. The area around Kits Point is restricted to local traffic from 6 to 11:30 p.m. each night of the fireworks, while access to the West End is restricted from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Is transit impacted?

The Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines will run additional trains before, during and after the fireworks, running “at near-peak service levels”, says TransLink. SeaBus will also provide extended 15-minute service until midnight.

As for buses, the 250, 250A and 257 buses will have additional service before and after the events, and the C21, C23, 5, 6, and 22 buses will be among those detoured.

(For a full list of changes, click here)

What else should I know when I get there?

The City of Vancouver is reminding people that there open alcohol is prohibited on beaches, streets and parks, and failing to comply could result in a $230 fine. There is also a no smoking ban in Vancouver parks – and breaking that comes with a $250 fine.

Vancouver Police say they will be out in full force to enforce bylaws and ensure security.

“We’ll make sure everybody’s safe. I’m very confident we have enough resources to make sure it’s a safe and fun night for everyone,” said Vancouver Police Department Deputy Chief Warren Lemcke.

What if I can’t get downtown?

If you can view the fireworks, but are too far away to directly hear the music, the Celebration of Light has created an app that will stream the soundtrack, which you can download here for iPhone and here for Android.

BC1 will also be streaming each night of the fireworks.

WATCH: Behind the scenes of the Celebration of Light barge

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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