If there is one event that defines summer in Vancouver, it’s the Honda Celebration of Light international fireworks competition and festival: three nights of the best fireworks displays you’ve ever seen.
Since 1990, the annual Celebration of Light has become one of the most prestigious fireworks competitions in the world, attracting the world’s best fireworks pyrotechnicians and designers. The 2014 Celebration of Light fireworks competition features tour-de-force performances from the United States, France, and Japan.
Getting to the Celebration of Light: Do not drive! On each day of the competition roads into the West End are closed at 7:30pm, and Kits Point is closed at 6:00pm. There will be no parking. Take the sky train, buses, or–if possible–walk. For information on parking for disabled persons, check the site http://hondacelebrationoflight.com/
With over 400,000 people expected to attend the Celebration of Light fireworks, the prime viewing points will be extremely crowded. To get a spot at Downtown’s most popular vantage point, English Bay Beach, you must go very early, especially if you have children; adults will be able to enjoy the show even standing in back. If you’re willing to put up with the crowds, this is the place to go: not only do you get the best fireworks views, there are tons of concession stands, food vendors, and good restroom access, too.
If you don’t want sand in your shoes, there is limited, ticketed, bleacher seating at English Bay Beach (called the YVR Observation Deck, as it’s sponsored by YVR). All proceeds from the bleacher seating go to support the Celebration of Light event. For people with disabilities, free accessible seating is available: call 604 757-0345 for details.
Now in its 6th year, the free concert series Shorefest–one of the largest free music concerts in Vancouver–takes place each night of the Fireworks Competition (so, July 26, July 30, and August 2) at English Bay and Sunset Beach (the top spot for fireworks viewing, see above). The concerts directly precede the fireworks, with stages at English Bay Beach and Sunset Beach.