The Lower Mainland’s largest New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks usually take place near Canada Place in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet on December 31st.
MAIN EVENT CHANGED LOCATIONS
Vancouver’s annual fireworks event was cancelled for December 31st in 2019. However, it was scheduled to return at a new location in 2020. This year’s event was set to happen at Concord Pacific Place in False Creek. Because of COVID-19, however, the December 31st event in 2020 has now also been cancelled. Hopefully the event can happen on December 31st in 2021.
Click False Creek NYE Fireworks for more information about the event in 2021.
Below is information about Vancouver’s fireworks and celebration activities, as well as a list of top locations to view the pyrotechnics from (in years when the Vancouver event has taken place in the past).
Topics included in this article include the following:
Fireworks Times | Ticketed Venues | Coal Harbour Viewing Locations | Stanley Park Viewing Locations | Fireworks Views from Crab Park | North Vancouver Viewing Locations | Fireworks Tips & Advice | Other Information
Click on any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading to learn all about the Canada Place fireworks and the various top venues to watch them from.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
The 2019 event was cancelled so organizers could improve and relocate the 2020/21 event. The new event takes place at Concord Pacific Place next year for the first time, unless the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forces the event to be cancelled yet again.
For information about other New Year’s Eve events, click Vancouver New Year’s Eve Celebrations. To learn about what the event was like in past years, continue reading.
Past Vancouver Fireworks Events by Canada Place
During the fireworks event in downtown Vancouver in past years there have been live outdoor concerts on the 102.7 the PEAK Stage in the plaza outside Canada Place, as well as other entertainment by Jack Poole Plaza.
Also at the NYE Vancouver event you could expect street performers, at least 20 food trucks and up to 100,000 people around Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and in the street between Howe and Thurlow.
For more details about the evening’s various activities, click Canada Place New Year’s Celebrations.
New Year’s Fireworks Times
On New Year’s Eve each year there have usually been two sets of firework displays taking off from a barge in the water off Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre. A 5-minute mini-version suitable for families with young folk and early bedtimes blasted off at 9 pm. The main pyrotechnics light up the sky at midnight and last for about 10 minutes.
While the fireworks were exploding in the sky there has been accompanying music played by local radio stations 93.7 JRfm and The PEAK 102.7 FM. If you weren’t near one of the event’s two outdoor concert stages or at a ticketed venue, you could tune in to the stations on your radio or mobile device.
Fireworks Viewing Locations
In past years there have been several places to view the New Year’s Eve fireworks from including the Vancouver Convention Centre’s East Plaza, along the Coal Harbour seawall, from the eastern tip of Stanley Park near the 9 O’clock Gun, and from North Vancouver at Waterfront Park, Lonsdale Quay and the pier by Shipbuilders’ Square.
In addition to the above free venues, there have also been ticketed viewing areas including at the Indoor Experience at the Convention Centre where you could view in comfort, from indoors if you wanted, and away from most of the crowds.
Ticketed Fireworks Venues
There used to be lots of free places to view the fireworks from, but also the following paid venues:
NYE Celebration Pass Indoor Party
In 2018 the NYE Indoor Party cost $69 per person and included premium views of the fireworks, live music and access to food and beverages for purchase. Children under 8 years of age were free (but they needed to reserve their tickets in advance).
In previous years the Celebration Pass cost about the same and included access to the outdoor Celebration Zone on Jack Poole Plaza, family zone activities, and two indoor dance rooms with both DJ tunes and live music.
NYE VIP Indoor Experience
The best (but also most expensive) venue for fireworks viewing has been at the VIP Indoor Experience which took place in the West Ballroom of the Vancouver Convention Centre. Here general admission usually cost about $178 per person, so it was definitely not cheap.
The VIP Indoor Experience was the same as what you got with the Celebration Pass but with a few extra perks. It was an ages 19+ event and included complimentary snacks, adult beverages for sale and live entertainment. Other benefits were access to a VIP lounge on an upper level, a complimentary glass of champagne and free coat check.
In previous years there has been a third ticketed area – the Family Zone – which three years ago was at Canada Place and two years ago was at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The Family Zone was a perfect venue for people with families (obviously) and cost about $30 per person plus fees (but free for accompanying children ages 4 and under). The venue was both outdoors and inside.
Coal Harbour Fireworks Views
In addition to the above ticketed venues, some of the best views of the fireworks have been from along the waterfront in Coal Harbour.
The north side of the Vancouver Convention Centre has been the top spot (see the above information on ticketed venues for details), but also in Jack Poole Plaza (which has been free).
The viewing has also been excellent from further along the seawall at free locations including from Harbour Green Park just to the west of the Convention Centre and all the way up to the Westin Bayshore Hotel (with some exceptions along the way). Excellent but also exceptionally crowded free viewing could also be found in the plaza between the Convention Centre and Canada Place.
You could expect the entire area along Vancouver’s north-facing downtown waterfront to be packed like sardines, but increasingly so the closer you were to the Convention Centre and Canada Place.
Note: If you’re tall or right up close to the water near the Convention Centre you could probably have gotten a great view. If you’re short and packed in the middle of the crowd your view likely wouldn’t have been perfect and you would no doubt have felt at least somewhat claustrophobic.
Stanley Park Fireworks Views
The views of the fireworks have also been good from the seawall along the southeastern part of Stanley Park facing the city. The views were great from between around the totem pole area and the easternmost tip of the park near the 9 O’clock Gun.
You had to look out for the barge in the water – if you could see the barge, or at least the sky above it, you’d be able to see the fireworks. If you couldn’t see the barge, however, or at least its shadow in the water, then you had to move along and try to find a better location.
Stanley Park is where we watched the fireworks from a few years ago and it was an excellent venue. There weren’t too many crowds, the pyrotechnics weren’t too far away, and the view of the city was spectacular.
TIP: Viewing from the southeastern tip of Stanley Park was highly recommended given the city views, relative proximity to the fireworks and lack of crowds. The main drawback though is transportation.
At some point in the evening the road around the southeastern section of Stanley Park closed, which meant you needed to walk a ways if you arrived after it closed or you might have been trapped until the end if you arrived before. Also, unless you managed to be one of the first cars out, you needed to make yourself comfortable and not expect to get anywhere fast after the fireworks finished as traffic through the area moved at a snail’s pace for quite a while.
Fireworks Views from Crab Park
An impressive yet lesser-well-known fireworks viewing area was from Crab Park at Portside which is just a short walk east of Canada Place and the Waterfront Station SeaBus Terminal.
Crab Park is located at 101 East Waterfront Road which makes it on the east side of the Helijet terminal (located at 455 West Waterfront Road). To get to the park by car you have to drive as far north as you can go on Vancouver’s Main Street (which then turns into East Waterfront Road). By foot, it’s also less than a 10-minute walk from the SeaBus Terminal (via the lower level Helijet entrance).
The views of the fireworks from Crab Park were excellent. You couldn’t see everything because parts of Canada Place are sometimes in the way (but the beauty of Canada Place at night makes up for that). The fireworks barge was so far out in the water though, and many of the pyrotechnics fly up so high, that the views from Crab Park were surprisingly impressive. And what’s more? The crowds were minimal!
Below is what the 9 pm fireworks looked like as viewed from Crab Park on New Year’s Eve.
North Vancouver Fireworks Views
For people on Metro Vancouver’s North Shore, the best and most convenient fireworks viewing venues were in North Vancouver at Waterfront Park, Lonsdale Quay and the pier at Shipbuilders’ Square.
All three of these venues offered excellent views of the city lights across the water. The fireworks were admittedly in the distance, but still pretty good, and the crowds and transportation issues were nothing compared to what people in downtown Vancouver had to deal with.
Waterfront Park Fireworks Viewing
Waterfront Park is the green space just a five-minute walk west of the SeaBus terminal at Lonsdale Quay. To get there hang a left at the McDonald’s as you exit the SeaBus, walk the half block past the taxis and cars waiting to pick people up, and then continue west a minute or so down the path to the park.
The view from Waterfront Park is similar to that of Lonsdale Quay and Shipbuilders’ Square. There weren’t many people and there is a nice little shelter which is convenient if it’s raining or if you want something picturesque in the foreground of your fireworks photos.
Lonsdale Quay Fireworks Viewing
Just outside the SeaBus terminal is Lonsdale Quay which has a great view of Vancouver from across the water. The crowds weren’t bad here (but more than at Waterfront Park) and for those that arrived early the views from the top of the Lonsdale Quay tower (with the giant “Q” on top) were especially impressive.
Shipbuilders’ Square and Pier
Shipbuilders’ Square and its pier were the most popular places on the North Shore to view Vancouver’s fireworks. There still weren’t be a lot of people, but the fact that the pier extends quite a ways into the water meant the fireworks were just that much less in the distance compared to Waterfront Park and Lonsdale Quay.
Fireworks Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your New Year’s Eve fireworks-viewing experience.
TIP #1: Don’t try to drive downtown and expect to find parking anywhere near Canada Place, the Convention Centre or Coal Harbour (unless you arrive really early). Take public transit! Starting at 5 pm public transit is usually free on the day and Waterfront Station with its buses, SkyTrains and SeaBus terminal is just a short walk away!
TIP #2: Dress warmly!
TIP #3: If it’s raining, then the ticketed indoor venues at the Convention Centre are definitely the best places to be! Best free venues in the rain, meanwhile, are along the seawall in Stanley Park and at venues in North Vancouver. Why? Because there are far fewer people at those locations so the likelihood of being able to use an umbrella without angering people behind you is relatively good!
TIP #4: The barge from which the fireworks blasted off was actually quite a ways offshore from Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre. This was nice as it meant the pyrotechnics could be seen from all around the region, and they weren’t overly far from either Stanley Park or North Vancouver.
For more information on Vancouver’s main New Year’s Eve celebrations, see New Year’s Eve at Canada Place.
For further details about the fireworks and festivities at Canada Place click NYE Vancouver.
For information on Lower Mainland fireworks at other times of the year, click Vancouver Fireworks.
For ideas on other things to do over the Christmas holidays and winter season, check out the following:
- Vancouver’s December or January calendars of events
- Best Christmas Activities
- Vancouver Winter Activities
- Vancouver Rainy Day Activities