Fireworks in the Lower Mainland
Attracting hundreds of thousands of people, Vancouver’s various fireworks events are all first-rate and highly recommended.
FIREWORKS AND COVID-19
The first major fireworks in the Lower Mainland since the province declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus was supposed to be the ones at the 2020 Cloverdale Rodeo in May. That entire event, however, was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Vancouver’s Canada Day Celebrations at Canada Place should have been the next big event, followed by the annual Celebration of Light fireworks competition in the summer. Both those events were suspended until next year too. Vancouver’s annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks event also won’t be happening again until December 31st of 2021.
The coronavirus is affecting so many events and attractions in the Vancouver region, and life in general around the world. Hopefully things will return to normal soon, or at least near-to-normal!
To learn more about other events affected by the pandemic, see our article about Vancouver and COVID-19 Cancellations.
Cloverdale Rodeo Fireworks
The Cloverdale Rodeo is a large rodeo and country fair that takes place in Surrey on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the May Long Weekend each year.
At the rodeo there are amusement rides, rodeo competitions, evening concerts, a parade and various other family-friendly cowboy-themed activities. On the first night of the rodeo, on the Friday, there are also fireworks at around 9:30 pm.
In 2020 the Cloverdale Rodeo was going to take place on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of May 15th to 18th. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the entire four-day event was cancelled, including the fireworks. In 2021 the rodeo is expected to run from May 21st the 24th.
Click Cloverdale Rodeo for more information about the event.
Canada Day Fireworks
One of Vancouver’s largest rounds of fireworks each year takes place on Canada Day at various venues around the Lower Mainland.
The main pyrotechnics on July 1st are from a barge in the water just off Canada Place, and again like at New Year’s the entire region around Canada Place is a zoo of people, free concerts and other entertainment during the day.
Because of the COVID-19 virus, the fireworks event at Canada Place was cancelled for 2020. For more information about the Canada Day celebrations in downtown Vancouver, click Canada Day at Canada Place.
In addition to the pyrotechnics at Canada Place, fireworks also occur most years at the exact same time on the North Shore off Dundarave as part of West Vancouver’s Canada Day celebrations. Other fireworks venues include Abbotsford, Surrey, White Rock, Burnaby, Coquitlam‘s Lafarge Park and Whistler. None of these pyrotechnic events happened in 2020, however, although some municipalities offered online activities instead.
For more information on Canada Day fireworks and other festivities throughout the Lower Mainland on July 1st, click Canada Day Fireworks.
Celebration of Light Fireworks
Vancouver’s biggest and most famous fireworks event is the Celebration of Light international fireworks competition that takes place in English Bay.
The Celebration of Light is a three-day event that happens on the last two Saturdays and last Wednesday in July or beginning of August in the lead-up to the BC Day Long Weekend.
In 2020 the Celebration of Light fireworks were going to take place on Saturday, July 25th, Wednesday, July 29th, and Saturday, August 1st. Countries competing on each of the three days last year were India, Canada and Croatia. Three different countries were going to compete in 2020, at least up until the festival got cancelled due to COVID-19.
In years when it does take place, at the fireworks competition there is live music all afternoon and evening followed by fireworks put on by a different country each night starting at 10 pm. Each of the three nights’ sets of pyrotechnic displays lasts for close to 25 minutes. During the shows people can listen to accompanying music by tuning their radios to LG 104.3 FM.
For more information on this world-famous three-day pyrotechnics event, click Celebration of Light.
BC Day Fireworks
The Celebration of Light takes place in the lead up to the BC Day Long Weekend, but it’s not the only fireworks that take place on the weekend of BC’s first-Monday-of-August statutory holiday.
The final day of Vancouver’s Celebration of Light pyrotechnic competitions is on the Saturday of the BC Day Long Weekend, but White Rock has its own fireworks that weekend too during its White Rock Sea Festival.
As mentioned above, the 2020 Celebration of Light Festival was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Consequently, no fireworks took place at English Bay on BC Day this past year. The White Rock Sea Festival was cancelled too.
Municipal government-hosted events with Halloween fireworks usually take place in Maple Ridge, Richmond and Anmore each year. Smaller less formal events happen of course in other places too.
Celebrate the Night is a Halloween-themed community festival and fireworks night in Maple Ridge. In years when there isn’t a pandemic, it takes place at Memorial Peace Park on the last Sunday in October. In 2019 it was on Sunday, October 27th, from 5:00 until 8:00 pm with the fireworks happening at 7:30. In 2020 the event involved a Lights & Lasers Drive-In event where that people could enjoy from within their cars on October 25th.
Halloween fireworks also take place in October in Richmond at Minoru Park at 7191 Granville Avenue (in years when there isn’t a pandemic). The show is on October 31st and free family-friendly activities take place from around 6:30 until 8:45 pm. Click Richmond Halloween Fireworks for more information.
Halloween fireworks also usually happen in the tiny community of Anmore on Halloween night at Spirit Park at 2697 Sunnyside Road. Click Anmore Fireworks for details about past events.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Up until 2018, the Lower Mainland’s finest fireworks displays each year have been set off from a barge in Burrard Inlet just off Canada Place on New Year’s Eve, or January 1st at 12 am. Starting on December 31st in 2021, the event takes place in False Creek.
NOTE: The fireworks at Canada Place did not happen in 2019. The event took a one-year break and planned to return on December 31st, 2020, but at a new location – at False Creek near Science World. Because of COVID-19, however, that event also got cancelled. The plan now is for the fireworks to take place at the new venue on December 31st in 2021.
In past years, on New Year’s Eve tens of thousands of people turned out for the show and accompanying entertainment around Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and along the waterfront in Coal Harbour. Smaller numbers of people also watched from the southeast shore of Stanley Park and from across the water in North Vancouver. Popular viewing spots on the North Shore included Lonsdale Quay and the pier by Shipbuilders’ Square.
Vancouver’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are short but impressive, lasting for around a dozen minutes or so. Live music and other entertainment took place in the plaza outside Canada Place in the evening starting at around 6:00 pm, the fireworks went off sharp at midnight and accompanying music was provided by the radio station 102.7 The Peak.
We’re sad that the event didn’t happen on December 31st in 2019, but look forward to seeing it in False Creek in 2021 (hopefully).
For more information, see New Year’s Eve Fireworks at False Creek.
Richmond’s Ships to Shore Festival
Fireworks happen in Richmond during the Ships to Shore Festival which takes place in years when a tall ship comes to visit. In past years the event has been held at Garry Point and the fireworks have been impressive.
The Ships to Shore Festival doesn’t take place every year. There was one in 2016 and 2017, but not in 2018, 2019 or 2020.
Click Ships to Shore Festival for more details.
For information about other major events in the Lower Mainland, including the above ones involving fireworks, see our Festivals & Events Calendar.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s Calendar of Events
- Best Places for Children
- Vancouver on a Budget
- The Lower Mainland at New Year’s Eve, Canada Day and Halloween