Focus: The Honda Celebration of Light

where to go, what to do & what you’re going to see

There’s nothing more mesmerizing than watching giant explosions of light followed by bellowing, thunderous sounds. Add a dazzling starry night sky, a dash of balmy beach weather and one of the most stunning views in Vancouver and you’ve got the biggest fireworks celebration in Canada — also known as the Honda Celebration of Light.

 As the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world this explosive event sends approximately 400,000 spectators flocking to English Bay each evening. These crowds not only add to the festive atmosphere of the city, but they also make BC boom (figuratively), bringing in an estimated $39 million dollars in incremental tourism and hospitality spending each year.

 Owned by the Not For Profit Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society, 2012 marks the 22nd consecutive year of the event, and to celebrate, they’ve lined up 3 countries who’ve never competed before: Vietnam, Brazil and Italy.


Not only does the completion promise some new ideas, sights and sounds, but it also ushers in a great new sponsor, the Honda Car Company.

 Also in effect are great seating options for those who want to avoid crowds.People can choose from bleacher seating on the YVR Observation Deck, or they can choose The Keg Lounge.

 If you simply want to avoid the hassle of finding a seat and arriving early, then bleacher seating is a great pick. You can reserve spots for yourself and friends, and enjoy a spectacular view right beside the Shore 104.3 broadcasting station on the roof of the English Bay bathhouse.

If you’re looking for a view with a party too, then The Keg Lounge is where you want to be. Located on top of the roof of the bathhouse in English Bay, this hotspot is front and center to the fireworks barge, and is guaranteed to be a bash from start to finish (hence the 19+ age requirement). Opening at 7:00pm, there will be some of Vancouver’s most popular musicians, delicious hors d’oeuvres by The Keg, drinks and a hip lounge atmosphere right in the heart of Vancouver’s stunning beach scenery. Throw in complimentary drinks and parking and you’ve got your evening made!

See below for the Shore 104 stage schedule.

Saturday July 28
Shore 104 Stage English Bay
7:30 – 8:15 Zaac Pick
8:30 – 9:30 Bahamas
10:00 Vietnam Fireworks Show

Wednesday August 1
Shore 104 Stage English Bay
7:30 – 8:15 Jets Overhead
8:30 – 9:30 Trews
10:00 Brazil Fireworks Show

Saturday August 4
Shore 104 Stage English Bay
7:30 – 8:15 Hannah Georgas
8:30 – 9:30 Said The Whale
10:00 Italy Fireworks Show

 If you’re a beach bum who likes to be in the middle of all the action, then there is plenty of shore line property to stake out too. With kilometers of beach stretching all the way from Sunset Beach to English Bay, you can claim some a real estate to squeeze into – so long as you get there early. Veteran beach goers recommend heading down at least 4 hours early to get prime territory in English Bay. Head down a little later and likely you can get something just a little bit further away.

If cultural exploration is your kind of bag, then seek out Sunset Beach as your sand of choice. Why? Because this year they have the Rogue Stage, an amazing performance platform that will celebrate the cultures of each of the competing countries with food, music, dance, sporting activities, vendors and concessions. Festivities will begin a 2PM on each day of the Fireworks: July 28th, August 1st, August 4th.

See below for the Rogue Stage schedule.

Saturday July 28
Rogue Stage  Sunset Beach
2:00 – 2:45  Oliver Swain
3:00 – 3:45 Headwater
4:00 – 4:45  Harry Manx
5:00 – 6:00  Barney Bentall
6:00 – 6:30  V3
6:45 – 7:15  SEACHS
7:30 – 8:15  Jim Byrnes and Steve Dawson
10:00  Vietnam Fireworks Show

Wednesday August 1
Rogue Stage  Sunset Beach
4:00 – 4:45  The Breakmen
5:00 – 6:00  Dunstin Bentall and Kendal Carson
6:00 – 6:30  Ache Brasil
6:45 – 7:15  Grupo America
7:30 – 8:15  The Be Good Tanyas
10:00  Brazil Fireworks Show

Saturday August 4
Rogue Stage  Sunset Beach
2:00 – 2:45  Bocephus King
3:00 – 3:45  Partick Brealey
4:00 – 4:45  Viper Central
5:00 – 5:45  Cousin Harley
6:00 – 6:30  Famee Furlane Balletto
6:45 – 7:15  Joel Plaskett
7:30 – 8:15  Great Lake Swimmers
8:30 – 9:30  Patrizia Colletta
10:00  Italy Fireworks Competion

Ah, but where to go when the fireworks are done? Home is far away and transit is guaranteed to be a bit of a wait. That’s why we’ve got an amazing Fireworks package. Our Sutton Place Hotel is just a quick walk away from all the action and is the perfect place to rest your feet when the flash of excitement is done. Plus, with our amazing Fleuri restaurant and coveted Gerard Lounge, you can continue the festivities with great food and cocktails and then head to bed – which is just an elevator ride away.

Quite possibly the most romantic gift you can give your loved one, or simply a memorable night of fun for you and your friends, this is the only way to see the Celebration of Lights in style.

Click here to view our special offers.

 And just like that, we’re setting the fireworks celebration off with a bang!