Fireworks flare above English Bay during Vancouver's annual Celebration of Light.
Every summer, bursts of color fill the sky above a few hundred thousand oohing and aahing spectators. But this isn’t the Fourth of July—or even the United States. It’s English Bay near downtown Vancouver, B.C., home to one of North America’s biggest and brightest fireworks displays.
Vancouver’s Celebration of Light runs on three nights, each showcasing music and pyrotechnic artistry from a different country. Last year, a display from Brazil gave the crowd a chance to applaud a booming show to the tune of “The Girl from Ipanema.” This year, the contestants are Canada, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. You can reserve paid seats in beachside stands or join the crowds—polite and orderly in the Canadian fashion—on the waterfront.
Don’t plan on driving there; all roads to the prime viewing areas are blocked. Instead, take a bus or the SkyTrain, or walk amid the multitudes from a nearby hotel. July 27, July 31, and Aug. 3. hondacelebrationoflight.com.
Photography courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/Colin Jewall
This article was first published in July 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.