Honda Celebration of Light 2016 Vancouver Fireworks


Annually — despite challenges obtaining sponsors — Vancouver has a fireworks competition that is on the days leading up to the Saturday of the August long weekend. This year it was on July 31 and was the Honda Celebration of Light.

This long running (since 1990) fireworks display capitalizes on the geography on Vancouver’s English Bay, which allows, according to the local news this year, 500,000 people to view it. Many were curled up to a radio (of some sort) to listen to the simulcast of the music to which the fireworks are synchronized.

The night my family attended was the USA’s turn to compete with the Netherlands and Australia, who had displayed their works on the 23rd and 27th of July, respectively.

The USA was represented by the Walt Disney Company and the choice of music ranged from the almost obligatory “Let it Go” from Frozen to part of the Star Wars theme, which seemed a bit cheesy as it was acquired by Disney. However, my wife and I concluded that full orchestra music is better for fireworks. (Maybe that’s all Handel’s fault.) Regardless, I did really enjoy “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin.

When you go, either side of English Bay (the West End or Kitsilano) will make for wonderful viewing, however, driving right close to the water, especially if you arrive early and stake out space on Kits Beach or First Beach, might seem like a good idea until the end — when a zillion people try to leave all at once. Better to park a distance away and walk in or, if possible, take transit.

You may want to take pictures. Those attached to the article are courtesy of my 8-year-old. It’s amazing what a second hand cell phone will do, especially considered my first attempts in the 1990s was with actual film. But, please don’t do what someone near me did, i.e. continuously click his shutter, look at the screen, do it again, jerking the camera to obtain some sort of smearing effect. I used a lot of energy to ignore him.

Idea: when you go to the Celebration of Light fireworks, take a couple of pictures but put the tech down and take the whole experience in.

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