Preparations are well underway at the barge that will be the launching site for New Year’s Eve Vancouver’s two fireworks shows tomorrow night.
Several thousand firework shells will be launched between two shows: A three-minute 9 p.m. Early Eve show for families with young children and an 11-minute Midnight Countdown show at 12 a.m. to ring in 2016 on the West Coast.
Planning for the shows began in the early fall. Set-up began early this week at a Port Metro Vancouver dock near the northern end of Main Street with a total of six highly-experienced pyrotechnicans working on the project.
“We’ve got very fortunate weather, it’s really cooperating with us,” said Brian Oberquell, a pyrotechnician for Winnipeg-based Archangel Fireworks. “We’re well on track and everything will be done on time.”
The majority of the shells have a diameter of 3 inches, 4 inches, 5 inches, and 6 inches, which explode at a height and have a bloom of 600 feet. There will also be roman candles, mines that give off big sparks, and single shot cakes.
The barge will be towed to its firing position in the middle of Coal Harbour, just north of the Vancouver Convention Centre’s West Building, at approximately 7:30 p.m. on the night of the event.
During the fireworks show, a skeleton crew will remain on the barge inside a protected structure to monitor the status of the show on the control panel and ensure the safety of explosives. With the push of a button, the fireworks will be launched automatically by a computer that sends electric pulses to fuses that light up the fireworks.
Similar to Canada Day, the fireworks will be visible in downtown Vancouver from the seawall at Coal Harbour and Canada Place Way, where the festivities are being held, between Howe and Burrard streets. The fireworks will not be viewable from English Bay and Kitsilano.
Canada Place Way by the 102.7 The PEAK Stage has been deemed the best location to view the fireworks, given that the location will provide revellers with live music and countdown programming as well as the fireworks soundtrack on big speakers.
Only the midnight fireworks will be synchronized to a soundtrack, which will be aired on live radio on 102.7 The PEAK FM.
“It feels really good to be part of the first New Year’s Eve show in Vancouver in over a decade,” he added. “Hopefully we’ll be doing it again next year and the year after that.”
As for working on New Year’s Eve, Oberquell says he doesn’t mind as it’s what he loves to do.
Where: Canada Place Way and Coal Harbour, Downtown Vancouver
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, December 31, 2015 to 12:20 a.m. January 1, 2016