Canada Day – the one day of the year when red and white are the predominant colours decorated with and worn by people all over the country. Canada Day falls on a weekend this year, which means that BBQs and late night patio parties will be even more prevalent than normal.
In this article, we will discuss our favourite Canada Day events in both Victoria and Vancouver, as well as some lighting ideas for our nation’s birthday.
Canada Day Lighting
What makes an event memorable? It’s the humming crowds anticipating the main act, or the laughter shared with the people you love at a casual backyard BBQ. In a nutshell, we remember the events by the way they make us feel. Ambience and environment are key elements of an enjoyable event, and one of the easiest ways to create a memorable experience is with lighting.
Whether it’s a fireworks display in Burrard Inlet with all the kind people that make up the country we call home, or a small gathering of your closest friends under a canopy of warm, glowing, festival lights on the back deck, the visual component of a space informs your first impression and sets the tone for the rest of the evening.
So with all the space to occupy in the lower mainland, where is THE place to be on Canada Day? Fireworks, parades, live music and eye catching entertainment for all ages can be found in various locations around the Lower Mainland on Canada Day this year. Below are a couple of our select favourites.
Every year on Canada Day, Burrard Inlet lights UP. This incredible firework show can be viewed from several locations, with the most popular being the Coal Harbour side of the Seawall. Sharing the same shoreline is the iconic landmark Canada Place, which is the venue for world class events and inspirationally Canadian experiences. Canada Place boasts the biggest party and the best entertainment for Canada Day with performances of various kinds happening all day long. There is no doubt that this will be the most bustling side of the harbour to hang out on. Another option is to view the light show from the North Shore. The crowds are smaller, and if you have a balcony view –– even better!
All of that being said, the absolute best place to view these fireworks is from the water. Rent a kayak and float out on the ocean while you watch the main event. Just make sure you pay attention to where you are floating! There are still boundaries to abide by on the water.
Parades and Salmon and Pancakes, oh my!
Salmon, did you say? Yes – in fact, over 1200 lbs of it! Every year, the community of Steveston (situated in southwest Richmond) hosts the famous Salmon Festival on Canada Day. The day starts early with a 6:30 am pancake breakfast, followed by a kids bike parade, and then the main parade at 10:00am . Afterwards, enjoy concerts, free entertainment, car shows and a food fair with the main attraction being the wild salmon grilling on open fire pits. Plates are $16.00 and they sell out every year, so it is important to show up early if you want some fish. Over 80,000 people from the Lower Mainland attend this event on July 1st, and although improvements and expansions are made every year to accommodate these growing numbers, scoring a parking spot close to the event might require an arm wrestle and one of your toes!
Canada Day in Victoria is notoriously busy, with a large stage hosting performances by artists from all over the country on the Legislature Lawn. A long section of Government St. is closed down, as well as several blocks of Belleville St., making the area around the harbour pedestrian only. Between 1:30 and 2, the largest “living flag” in Canada will be assembled by 5,000 people in red and white t-shirts! By around 8:00 pm, there are upwards of 50,000 people in the Inner Harbour area. There are food trucks, activities for kids, and live music. In past years, bands such as Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother, and the Arkells have headlined the main stage. This year, Victoria roots rockers Carmanah will be taking the stage leading up to the big finale – fireworks over the Harbour just after dusk!
Decorative vs Practical Lighting
So, where do decorative lights come into this? Well, red and white are luckily colours we use all the time at Christmas, and therefore carry large quantities of! There are two main uses for our lights on Canada day. One is for decorative purposes, and the other is for practical purposes. Here are our favourite examples of each:
For decorative lighting, we love alternating red and warm white or pure white G30s on a roof line, or hung around the perimeter of a gathering. One of our clients in Victoria, Harbour Air Seaplanes, has G30 “super bright globe lights” permanently installed on the roofline of their new terminal, but they have purchased red bulbs from us to install for Canada Day. Because the terminal is right in the middle of the harbour, they use four white bulbs, and then four red bulbs, to maximize the visibility of the pattern from far away.
For practical lighting, we would suggest using our patio style Edison bulbs, which give off a great deal of warm white light, perfect for lighting the late night portion of those backyard Canada Day BBQs. These lights create a wonderful atmosphere, and we would highly recommend them for all of your event lighting needs.
FestiLight not only sells and installs decorative lighting; we rent for special events as well! Send us the dimensions and a few photos of the event space and we will be happy to make some creative suggestions and determine how much lighting is required. Information for approximate rental costs can be seen on our website. If you’d like us to put a quote together for you, or if you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-855-733-7845.