Every year the skies of Vancouver light up in a rhapsody of colour. The annual Celebration of Light is a dazzling display of pyrotechnics that draws thousands of visitors to our fair city each year.
This annual event is a competition between three international cities and totally free to the public. Although finding a spot to watch the display can be a bit of a challenge, as a guest of the centrally located Victorian Hotel, you’ll have easy access to choice viewing locations throughout the city.
Dates for this year’s exhibition are listed below. The Celebration of Light competition begins promptly at 10:00pm over English Bay each night and carried on for about half an hour.
- Netherlands – Saturday, July 23: 10pm to 10:25pm
- Australia – Wednesday, July 27: 10pm to 10:25pm
- America – Saturday, July 30: 10pm to 10:25pm
1. English Bay
Probably the best vantage point, if you don’t mind the crowds. The atmosphere in English Bay is intimate and intense. Remember to arrive early to stake out a good spot, and don’t even try to drive. Use the bus or SkyTrain, which is located about 5 minutes from the Hotel at Waterfront Station. You can also try ahead to make a reservation at one of the restaurants in English Bay, the prominent Cactus Club, Boathouse, and Milestone all have patios and exceptional views of this summertime spectacle.
2. Vanier Park
Situated directly across the bay from English Bay Beach, Vanier Park is famous for being the home of the Museum of Vancouver and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. You may even end up rubbing shoulders with a few Shakespearean thespians, as this is also home to Vancouver’s famous Bard on the Beach festival.
3. Kitsilano Beach
Kitty corner to Vanier Park, Kitsilano Beach is another prime viewing location. Once again, transit will be limited, so remember to plan your route. The staff at the Victorian Hotel will be pleased to answer your questions, so you can find your way to beautiful Kitsilano. Try walking or cycling along the well designated bicycle path ½ a block from the Victorian Hotel. The bicycle lanes safely lead to the Burrard Bridge and the seawall to Kitsilano Beach. The Boathouse restaurant situated prominently at Kitsilano Beach has an amazing second floor patio that allows unobstructed views of the evening sunsets and fireworks spectacle. We recommend booking early for this location as it is highly sought after by the locals.
4. Stanley Park
The fireworks are just another excuse to visit one of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions. If you’re trying to avoid the crowds, say so long to English Bay and head into Stanley Park. Any point along the Stanley Park Seawall that English Bay will provide a great view of the Fireworks.
5. Dundarave Pier
Located in West Vancouver, this family-friendly spot is a local favourite as it’s relatively quiet compared to the other locations. However, it will take a bit more planning to get there. Make it a day trip along the SeaBus to the NorthShore of Vancouver and buy fresh snacks for a picnic at the Lonsdale Quay Market, and take a direct bus to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. After your tour of the suspension bridge, dine at the many restaurants located at Park Royal before walking to Ambleside Beach to enjoy the fireworks with the locals of North and West Vancouver.
6. Burrard Bridge
If you don’t mind the barebones experience, you can join the locals for a plum spot on the pedestrian walkways of the Burrard Street Bridge. Just remember, barebones means no beach, no concession stands—and no bathrooms!
The Celebration of Lights is a much-loved event that has come to define summers in Vancouver. Just remember that getting there and back requires some patience and planning. It’s likely that busses and trains will be packed both ways, so remember to take some water, snacks, or a picnic. Then get ready for one of the most masterful fireworks display you’ve ever seen.
As a guest staying at the Victorian Hotel in Vancouver , you have access to our friendly and knowledgeable staff that can provide great recommendations. And you’ll have easy access to the very best Vancouver has to offer, located just blocks from Gastown and Yaletown!