When StarlightFX was awarded the contract to be an “Official Supplier” for the 2015 Canada Winter Games it became apparrent that a lot of work was ahead of us to get ready. First and foremost, we worked closely with one of our main suppliers – “Mystical Distributing” – to determine that we could bring in enough fireworks to meet the requirements of the contract. Once the order was developed, a 20 foot container was ordered, direct from China.
Conventional “Display Shells” in sizes from 2″ (50mm) to 6″ (155mm) would be required.
Cylindrical Shells were also ordered. These ‘specialty’ shells produce much more spectacular “breaks”. The break is the effect you see when the ‘burst charge’ goes off.
Many meetings with the Winter Games staff ensued. The number of shows, the dates, the duration of the shows and the content were determined. Once all of that was in place, the detailed content of each individual show was decided. The sequence and timing for each show was pre-programmed, using proprietary software provided by Cobra Firing Systems. The Cobra firing system was used exclusively for all of the Canada Games shows.
In addition to the shows put on during the Games, StarlightFX also produced 5 additional shows. There was a 2 Years To Go, a 1 Year To go and a 100 Days to Go shows and celebrations. StarlightFX traveled to Fort St. John, Terrace and Quesnel as part of the Community Torch Relay celebrations.
For the Games Time shows, 2 complete shows, with all of the required equipment were ready to go. Everything needed was loaded into trailers and transported to Connaught Hill daily.
Once on site, the trailer was emptied. Racks of mortar tubes for the display shells, assemblies for comets, mines and roman candles were placed and prepared.
In addition, 10 to 12 ‘Display Cakes’ were included in each show. A cake is a ‘show in a box’ and consists of from 25 to several hundred smaller effects. The cakes produce a variety of different effects, from waving back & forth, multiple fanned bursts and very loud ‘salutes’.
Connections are made to the Cobra firing modules. These modules communicate by a secure wireless system to the remote firing unit.
Shells are placed in the mortars and connected to ‘electric matches’ or e-match. The e-match is ignited by an electrical signal from the firing module and emits a small flame which in turn lights the fuse on each firework.
Once everything is in place, tested and ready to go, the crew takes a break in the now empty trailer, checks out the city lights and keeps watch.
Close to show time we set up outside, a final check is made, the firing system is armed in preparation for the signal from the Stage Manager at the entertainment in the Plaza.
Then we get to watch the show!
A few statistics from the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Approximately 16,000 pounds (7257kg) of product was used.
This includes 6 shows leading up to Games Time and the 18 show during the Games.
Here is what was used:
2″ Display Shells – 1,243
3″ Display Shells – 1,040
4″ Display Shells – 672
5″ Display Shells – 425
6″ Display Shells – 187
1.5″ Comets – 165
2″ Comets – 297
2″ Mines – 63
3″ Mines – 225
Roman Candles – 81
Cakes – 297
Total shots fired – 27,621. 22,223 were from the Cakes.
Drew Larsen and Tom Stephenson – owners of StarlightFX
Part of the crew helping with setting up.
Drew Larsen, Gary Schlesinger, Vickie Stephenson, ‘TJ’ Stephenson and Steven Foulston.
Many more people helped out when they could, including guests from Taylor, Creston and Telkwa.
StarlightFX would like to thank Philomena Hughes and Chris Purves for providing the photos for this story.
We would also like to thank the many excellent photographers that posted their work on social media and the hundreds of positive and encouraging comments.