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For more than a quarter of a century, the Honda Celebration of Light fireworks festival has been the highlight of summer in Vancouver.
Millions 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 the festival will be South Africa on July 28, Sweden on August 1, and South Korea on August 4.
The theme, as voted by the public, will be “love.” All three participating countries are required to incorporate the theme into their respective displays and musical accompaniments.
The show begins at 10 pm each night, rain or shine. Fireworks will be launched from the barge anchored in the middle of English Bay. A music simulcast can be heard on LG 104.3FM, as well as 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 just 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.
Food trucks will be set up at the festival site, along with the RE/MAX Family Zone and sponsor activities. Alcohol service will take place between 2 and 9 pm.
18 artists will take over the park prior to fireworks, including Busty and the Bass, Jully Black, and Five Alarm Funk.
This area is also known for hosting the summertime free outdoor movies.
Kitsilano and Point Grey
If you’re located Kitsilano, this is the place to take in the 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. It’s 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 Vancouver Westside.
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.
However, capacity at this location is extremely limited and the only way to access the location is by vehicle. It is strongly advised that one comes 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 28: Team South Africa
- Wednesday, August 1: Team Sweden
- Saturday, August 4: Team South Korea
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: Tickets for premium viewing are available through the festival’s website.
Daily Hive Vancouver is a proud Media Partner of
the 2018 Honda Celebration of Light