Fireworks in Vancouver
Vancouver has many fireworks displays every year - New years, Canada
Day (They have been canceled for the last few years, but are back this
Celebration of Light
Symphony of Fire) and many special events. The Canada Day
fireworks (July 1st) have a website
and this years Celebration of
days are July 25 - Spain, July 28 - Canada, August 1 -
China, August 4 - Grand Finale.
The map below shows
of the locations where fireworks are launched and some of the good
places to watch fireworks from.
Symphony Of Fire in English Bay, from First
The best places see fireworks is First
Beach in English Bay. The fireworks are the sharpest, the smoke
least likely to be a problem and the music is the clearest.
My first summer with a camera I attended a seminar on how to photograph
put on by the The Symphony of Fire organizers. I bought a clamp
shot sitting on the grass with the camera mounted up on a post.
hundred thousand people joined me watching the show. Out of 3
of film, these are some of my favorites:
There is only one real downside to first
beach - the three hundred thousand other people who come to join
you. If you want to get a good spot, come 4 hours early and enjoy
some time at the beach. About an hour before the fireworks begin
the paths around the beach starts to seize up - every seatable square
foot of beach front is taken. If you want entertainment, go when
the tide is rising.
But you won't beat the view.
Symphony Of Fire in English Bay, from Vanier
I've taken photos of fireworks with film (my old
APS camera), slides (my then new F100) and digital -
the cost of the equipment involved, there isn't a quantum leap in
quality. The most important part seems to be having a good way
to keep your camera steady.
(Again from Vanier Park)
Celebration of Light from the Burrard
To really see the fireworks, you need a
clear sight to the
I've always wanted to see the fireworks from the Burrard Street Bridge,
I was very happy with the results.
You can go to the bridge less than half an
hour before the fireworks
and still get a great view. This is the best place to go to get a
last minute view of the fireworks.
Celebration of Light from the Granville
I was curious what the view from the
Granville Street Bridge would be like. Burrard is so easy to see
them from, I was hoping having a bit of Vancouver in the frame would
give the fireworks a sense of place.
of Light from
Some days you don't feel like braving the crowds
to get to a great
site. If you have a friend in the right neighborhood, nothing
watching the fireworks from a private deck.
This year I saw two very different sets of
fireworks from Fairview
- Italy and Canada. Italy had a tough break - almost no wind
their fireworks went into an ever increasing cloud of smoke. By
end, it looked like a nebula with explosions inside - only the largest
get outside the cloud.
The following Saturday, Canada had it's
turn. The show was
From farther away you tend to concentrate on the larger bursts.
had an amazing variety of colours and fireworks that would rise, fall
rise again, somewhat reminiscent of the fireworks in Lord of the
We were blown away.
This is long lens range - I used my 80-200 at
full length to fill
After an amazing show, we returned to our evenings fun.
of Light from Coal Harbour
A lots of people (with the right location) have
house parties that
include a viewing of the fireworks. Another friend has a condo in
Coal Harbour and her building top deck (29 stories up) happens to have
view through the other buildings to the fireworks. Not much of
the barge is in view but you do get to see the fireworks more at eye
The best part of not being right at first beach
(or the immediate
area) is that you can don't have a challenging time getting to wherever
you are going when the fireworks are done.
Symphony Of Fire in English Bay, from Burnaby Mountain
These shots are from Burnaby Mountain (SFU), looking toward
Seeing the fireworks right over the city is cool, but the sound delay
the explosion and you hearing it is several seconds. Someone
has their radio playing. If you have summer classes, it's worth
effort to walk to the park.
Fireworks over Canada Place from Fairview
Plaza of Nations (Science World) from the Cambie Street Bridge
Canada Day (Canada Place) from the North
The fireworks are a long way away (these are
cropped out of images
with a 80-200mm lens) so bring a big lens. The crowd in the park
quite lively and it was a nice quick way to see the show.
on the location of the freighters, you may not see the firework barge,
the city behind isn't particularly recognizable.
Tags: fireworks(63), city(7), Vancouver(7), Science World(3), crowd(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Fireworks in Vancouver
From: John Harvey Photo > Photos of Vancouver > John Harvey Photo - Fireworks in Vancouver
Very helpful info. Thanks a lot, John
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 at 19:30:30
exciting and beautiful..thank you ..will be there in 2009
jolie bain pillsbury
Sunday, September 21st, 2008 at 05:39:19
Great summary with fantastic photos. I'm looking for a good place to have a special evening during the fireworks this year. This webpage has come in quite handy.
Have you ever taken the boat to see the fireworks?
Thursday, June 18th, 2009 at 21:49:11
Very informative. Thanks. This year I watched South Africa from Jerico Beach and it was not a very good spot with the naked eye though the lightning was spectacular. The show had some gaps as well which may or may not have been intentional. Next time I go, I will watch from the Burrard Bridge.
Sunday, July 26th, 2009 at 19:43:43
I cannot tell from this page...can you see the fireworks from Second Beach?
Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 14:42:51
I don't know, but I suspect the view from second beach isn't great. There is a bit of land sticking out that would obscure your view of the barge and you would be looking through all the boats. But I've never tried.
This is really cool! I really should go there sometime. Were you standing on something to get such good shots over the heads of the people in the crowd? I was at a thing like this once, and I couldn't get a good shot because of all the people in the way.
Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 10:17:30
Re: second beach
I don't think you can see them from there, but my favorite place is just past the Second Beach pool on the path. The path curves out away from the beach and there is a whole string of benches with a straight-on view of the barges (albeit from the West side) and not much crowding. A very relaxed way to see them!
Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 12:27:30
Great photos! Question for you -- I'm wondering if I'd be able to see the fireworks (Celebration of Lights one) from the Lonsdale area... any idea? I know it's visible from Dundrave Pier area but hoping if I was in the Lonsdale area I'd be able to see the fireworks as well.
Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 13:23:27
Awesome site, and beautiful pictures, thank you so much for posting this! We are planning on where to view the Celebration of Light, our first time seeing it. It was very helpful to have photos taken from all the different vantage points and a review of each location. We'll probably try for First Beach, but, barring that, Burrard Bridge sounds like a close second.
Friday, July 29th, 2011 at 19:28:14
You're just missing the review for Jericho beach. How early would we have to get there to be able to find a good spot?
Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at 12:12:09
Just found your site. Awesome pictures. Usually go to English Bay with the crowds of people. Don't mind though. But your pictures from the different locations really do give a different prospective of the fireworks. Like the ones from Burrard Bridge. Thanks for sharing.
Friday, September 16th, 2011 at 12:20:14
Absolutely inspiring. I just started taking Fundamentals of Photography Using a DSLR. Your website was included as a resource in the handout of our final class of the term. Now I have more to aspire to.
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 21:55:13
awesome photos and very detailed direction.
Thursday, April 26th, 2012 at 13:26:59
I enjoyed reading your fireworks in Vancouver! Inspiring to see your journey & sharing on the web as well as a guided map that is a wonderful tool for exploring the best views. I hope you can make a story for the newspaper too & people can see the best camera shots in the paper.
Your story is wonderful to share your talent! I hope to see more!
Sunday, July 28th, 2013 at 10:43:40
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:38:35 Edit
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