The annual Vancouver fireworks festival brings an additional 300,000 people to an already busy downtown core. Driving and parking becomes a complete nightmare. You’re best bet is public transit, cycling or walking there! Prime viewing areas include English Bay, Kits Point, Vanier Park, and various locations around the West End, Sunset Beach and Stanley Park.
Additional Skytrain, Canada Line, and Bus service will be put into place to help with the large volume of transit users on event nights.
Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines will provide “rush-hour” service on all three nights beginning in mid-afternoon, with every available train in service after the show to clear people out of the area as quickly as possible.
The last Expo/Millennium Line train will leave Waterfront Station for King George at 1:16 a.m.
The last Canada Line train will leave Waterfront for Richmond-Brighouse at 1:15 a.m..
Trains will continue to run until everyone has been picked up from the downtown platforms (customers must be inside the stations when the gates are closed).
Coast Mountain Bus Company will have additional coaches available on all three nights, with transit supervisors monitoring the situation to deploy the buses as needed.
Customers arriving by SkyTrain may transfer at Burrard Station to the #5 or #22; however, due to the traffic restrictions in the West End during that time, the #5 will only go as far as Robson and Denman, then turn back via Georgia to the regular route; the #22 will go as far as Burrard and Davie. The #6 will also turn around at Burrard and Davie.
West Vancouver Transit will have additional coaches running from Horseshoe Bay and 25th/Marine; although the majority of special buses will go to and from Park Royal, where there is ample free parking. For return trips, buses will be staged at key locations along Georgia Street from approximately 10:45 p.m..
Blue Bus will also provide shuttle bus service to the smaller celebration area at Dundarave in West Vancouver.
In order to handle traffic for both Caribbean Days and the opening night of Celebration of Light, SeaBus is pressing all three vessels into action on July 28-29. Ferries will run every 10 minutes from each side between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Ferries will run every 15 minutes on Saturday from 8-9 a.m. and from 8 p.m. until midnight; on Sunday from 9:30-11 a.m. and 7-9 p.m.. Last sailings leave Waterfront at 1:22 a.m. Monday to Saturday; 11:16 p.m. on Sunday.
On the last two days of Celebration of Light, SeaBus will extend its two-ferry (15-minute) service until midnight.
West Coast Express
Extra service will be provided on the final night of Celebration of Light – August 4 – only, leaving Mission City at 7 p.m. and returning from Waterfront at midnight.
If you plan to drive, let us warn you don’t do it. You’ll be frustrated but if you are still stubborn enough to do so leave plenty of time to find parking and get to a good viewing spot. Traffic will be redirected in Kitsilano and West End areas and you will have to plan alternate routes.
Access into the West End will be restricted from 7:30PM, and into Kits Point from 6:00PM on Fireworks nights. Residents will be allowed into the area at specific access points, but must display a valid resident parking permit or recent proof of address.
Best bet for parking is to park in the central business district in one of the 24 hour lots. The Scotia Bank Theatre lot is a popular one. From there plan to walk at least 20 minutes to get to your destination.
Image by Cosmo Canuck