Twenty years ago, I moved from Winnipeg to Vancouver in the second week of June 1997, for a job with a software company. A week after moving into my apartment, I had to call the building manager about some light sockets not working properly, even after checking the fuse box. The first thing he said to me was, “You’ll have a great view of the fireworks in English Bay. ”
July 1, 1997, comes and goes. I see cargo ships, but no barge and no fireworks. Where I hailed from, “fireworks” meant “Canada Day.” When I mentioned the incident to a co-worker, that was the first time I heard about Symphony of Fire. Back then, there were three competing countries and a finale presenting over a two-week period. Now, as Celebration of Light (Symphony of Fire was sponsored by a tobacco company), there are still three competing countries, but no finale and shows are scheduled during one week, from Saturday to Saturday.
For the very first time I watched the fireworks, I had no furniture on the balcony. I sat on the cement floor with my back against the wall and watched the show. I remember watching and be amazed, particularly by the ones that seemed to travel – come right at me as if they were going to hop over the railing. For Saturday’s show I hauled a pile of cushions outside and sat happily ensconced for half an hour.
Since I moved into the apartment, I have never missed the Symphony of Fire or the Celebration of Light. I don’t do very well in crowds, (read about my Canada Day adventures here), so I have never actually gone down to the beach to watch the fireworks. It’s hard to convince myself to brave the regularly anticipated 500,000 people per show when I have my own front row seat.