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Fireworks Alert: Les Grands Feux du Casino Lac-Leamy returns for 25th season

Photo: “Colourful Spectacle” of fireworks in the night sky over the Ottawa River in 2015. Photo by Jamie McCaffrey, via the OttawaStart Flickr Pool.

This year’s edition of Casino du Lac-Leamy’s Sound of Light show starts on Aug. 3, and promises six evenings of outstanding pyrotechnic display. It runs every Saturday and Wednesday at 9:15 p.m. through August 20 and is definitely worth checking out.

Sound of Light started in 1996 and has become renowned for being one of the best fireworks events in the world. This year, fireworks professionals (professional firework-ers?) from four countries will battle to make the best show. This year’s theme is “Fires of Reconnection”.

The shows coming up:

  • August 3: Grand Opening, The Flame in our Hearts.
  • August 6: France presents Musicals.
  • August 10: Canada, Big Hair 80’s.
  • August 13: Mexico, Burned.
  • August 17: USA, Tie-Dye Sky.
  • August 20: Grand Finale, Voilà: an ode to art.

Where to see the fireworks

The official viewing site is the Canadian Museum of History (here’s a map), which requires you to purchase a ticket to enter. The site opens at 6 p.m. and organizers say last admittance will be 9 p.m.

Here are some suggestions for other viewing points:

  • Portage Bridge
  • Macdonald-Cartier Bridge
  • Behind the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Behind Centre Block

Tips for taking photos

Photographing fireworks is a fine art. Gordon Dewis shares some photography advice on his blog:

As I was fortunate enough to have an unobstructed front row seat, I set up my camera on a tripod and framed the scene prior to the beginning of the show. I focused on the barge where the fireworks are set off from and then turned off the autofocus on the lens so that it wouldn’t “hunt” for something to focus on when the fireworks started. Shooting in raw mode, I chose an ISO speed of 100. This would allow longer exposures while avoiding saturating the CCD sensor. For a shutter speed, I selected “bulb”, which means that the shutter would be open for as long as I held it open with my remote. (Fortunately, I didn’t have to actually hold it open because I was using a wireless remote — I just had to press the button to open the shutter and press it again to close it.)