South Africa dazzles Vancouver, few issues reported at Celebration of Light

credit: news1130


It looks like everyone was on their best behavior for night one of the Celebration of Light fireworks.

The Vancouver Police Department is saying thank you to the nearly 400,000 people who packed out English Bay and surrounding Vancouver beaches Saturday night, to watch South Africa light up the sky.

Things went largely incident-free. Police say the biggest issue was a backpack theft which was quickly resolved with an arrest, in an otherwise great night for the hundreds of officers in attendance.

Constable Jason Doucette says there were about 100 alcohol pour outs.

“The pour outs were on the way down to the event. We did have some along the beach, but for the most part people seemed to be policing themselves… I personally spotted somebody smoking a cigarette down on the beach and by the time I got them, their neighbour had asked them to put it out and they were apologetic.”

He adds the busiest beach was by far English Bay. Doucette says officers had to slow down the crowds pouring in just before the 10:00 p.m. start time.

“We actually had to restrict some movement and just encourage people to go to the east and to the west on the beaches. There was still lots of room for people, but we just had to get people to slide down a little bit and not be elbow-to-elbow and just have room to have a seat. Everyone was cooperative, they just had a great time.”

Doucette has thanked crowds for planning ahead and making use of transit options to avoid congestion.

The work, however, isn’t over. He says the attention now turns to the remaining two nights of the festival on Wednesday and next Saturday.

“Typically on Wednesday, mid-week, we do see lower numbers. But we’re going to have a look at what happened, and however they went. See if there’s any room for improvements for Wednesday, but I believe earlier on Wednesday evening there’s going to be the Snowbirds, there’s going to be an airshow so I think people are going to be coming down.”

Team Sweden is next up in the three day affair, with South Korea expected to wrap up the Celebration of Light on the 4th of August.

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