For nearly 30 years, the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks festival has been a staple summer celebration in Vancouver.
Hundreds of thousands of people flock to beaches and seaside parks over the span of three nights, in order to catch magical displays of pyrotechnics.
Organizers have announced that the participating countries for this year’s festival will be India on July 27, Canada on July 31, and Croatia on August 3.
This will also mark the first year that India and Croatia have ever performed in what has now become the world’s longest-running offshore fireworks competition.
At 10 pm each night, rain or shine, fireworks begin from barges located in
English Bay, while up to 400,000 spectators witness the show from along the shores.
Music simulcast can be heard on The Breeze 104.3 FM and through the festival’s mobile app.
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To help Vancouverites make the most of this quintessential summer event, we’ve compiled a list of the eight best locations to watch the fireworks show:
English Bay Beach
Everyone needs to experience the fireworks at English Bay at least once.
You’ll have to arrive early to secure a spot and brave the crowds, but nothing comes close to the lively atmosphere of English Bay during the Honda Celebration of Light.
Since the barge is anchored in the middle of English Bay, just 250 metres from the shoreline, the beach provides by far the best view of the fireworks.
For those looking for a more comfortable and premium viewing experience, Honda Celebration of Light organizers have a number of lounge options available in the English Bay Beach and Sunset Beach area.
Those who wish to have an unparalleled and unobstructed view of the event can purchase tickets to watch from the Keg Lounge on the Bathhouse Roof, the Concord Lounge at the Inukshuk, or the YVR Observation Deck.
If you’re looking to turn the fireworks into a romantic date night, this is the perfect location. Start the evening with a picnic and like the name suggests, catch the sunset before the fireworks begin.
Stanley Park Seawall (Second Beach)
Second Beach at Stanley Park has always been an optimal location for viewing the fireworks. The venue also received a huge boost after becoming the new location of the Park Stage, a role that traditionally belonged to Sunset Beach.
Kitsilano and Point Grey
If you’re located in Kitsilano, this is the place to take in a dazzling show. Located on the opposite side of English Bay from downtown Vancouver, Vanier Park is usually packed during the fireworks but if you head down early, you can score some of the best spots.
If you’re looking for something a bit calmer, you can avoid the hustle and bustle of downtown at Kitsilano Beach, just west of Vanier Park. The spot is usually quite busy on sunny afternoons but once it calms down towards the evening, you should be able to snag a spot on the sandy shore.
Jericho Beach has some of the best vantage points for the fireworks, especially for those who want to avoid the big crowds. This is the place for you if you live in the west side.
It’s a bit further away from downtown Vancouver, but the pier at Dundarave Beach is great for families and has a view like no other. The pier acts as possibly the best alternative for North Shore residents who wish to catch the fireworks without crossing the water.
Ambleside beach can also work as an acceptable backup, however, it should be noted that the fireworks are partially obscured by Stanley Park.
Cypress Mountain Viewpoint
Cypress Mountain Viewpoint, approximately one-third up the way on Cypress Bowl Road, provides a unique view of Vancouver’s Honda Celebration of Light, Canada Day, and New Year’s Eve fireworks. Of course, only head to this location if the skies are clear – you don’t want to be stuck in the clouds.
Keep in mind, capacity at this location is extremely limited and the only way to access the location is by vehicle. It is strongly advised that you come early enough to save a spot and leave enough time to drive to a ‘Plan B’ if there’s no open parking.
Schedule and nations:
- Saturday, July 27: India represented by Amir Morani Fireworks
- Wednesday, July 31: Canada, represented by Firemaster Productions Inc.
- Saturday, August 3: Croatia, represented by Mirnovec Fireworks
Time: 10 pm to 10:25 pm (25-minute duration each night). Rain or shine. Music simulcast on radio station LG 104.3 FM.
Location: English Bay, Vancouver
Tickets: Available through the festival’s website
Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud Media Partner of the 2019 Honda Celebration of Light