Vancouver’s Celebration of Light

Tonight is the first night of the annual Celebration of Light, Vancouver’s summertime fireworks competition. Three nights (Saturday, Wednesday, and Saturday), English Bay is transformed into a theatre, with hundreds of thousands of people making the trip downtown, or along the beaches of Kitsilano to take in the 25-minute long fireworks show. Synched to music, this is one of the most popular activities for locals and visitors to take in every summer.

It is a pretty surreal experience. Everyone gets to the beach as early as possible, marking their territory early to watch the show. The best three spots are at Vanier Point (in Kits) and either Second Beach or English Bay (downtown). The sunset is usually quite spectacular and at 10pm in the twilight, the show begins. Even more exciting is the mass exodus that begins at 10:26, moments after the show ends, as everyone begins to flood towards transit and away from English Bay in all directions.

It is a competition to see who can synch their explosions best to their selected music. This takes place over 3 nights and pits three teams against each other in a showcase of skill. The teams are represented by country, and this year (2018) features South Africa, Sweden, and South Korea.

Unfortunately, neither of us will be attending this year’s event. I have to work and Norma is in Mexico so we will not be enjoying the show. Last summer (2017) Norma was visiting me in Vancouver, and we took in the fireworks show in Kits at Vanier Park. Fireworks photography is hard; it takes a steady hand (or a tripod, which is always difficult to set up in a crowd) and a little bit of luck.

Since I grew up in Vancouver, I have attended the fireworks on several occasions, trying to see it every 2-3 years. In 2009, 2010 and 2014, I brought my camera with me, and have decided to share a few of our best pictures of the Celebration of Light. We hope that you can be lucky enough to see them for yourself someday.

 

A celebration of Light:

 

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Crowd Control. 2014.

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks. 2014.

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A celebration of Light. 2009.

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English Bay Sunset an hour before the show starts. 2014

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks. 2010. 

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks. 2009. 

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Fireworks. 2010. 

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks. 2014. 

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Fireworks. 2010. 

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Fireworks. 2010. 

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English Bay. 2014.

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Fireworks. 2017. 

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English Bay. 2014.

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Fireworks. 2010.

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Fireworks. 2017.

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Fireworks Aftermath in the West End. 2014. 

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Fireworks. 2017. 

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Fireworks. 2017. 

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Fireworks. 2010. 

 

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A celebration of Light. 2010.

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Fireworks. 2009. 

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Fireworks. 2017.

 

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