Which way to the beach?

Whether you’re looking for a stretch of sand to spread out and relax with a good book, an outdoor court to spike a volleyball, or a catwalk to strut your stuff, Vancouver’s got it. You’ll easily find a beach everywhere you turn.

The following is a list of some of the best beaches in the city.

Kitsilano Beach

Kitsilano Beach

If Vancouver is “Hollywood North,” then Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach – or “Kits Beach” to the locals – is our Venice Beach. Buff and bronzed bodies are sure to make their rounds but don’t be wary, you’re sure to fit in somewhere amidst the mix of joggers, stroller-pushing families, sun-worshippers, and everyday loungers. Grassy patches above the tide line are perfect for tossing the disc, the tennis courts are always popular, and the beach attracts volleyball players from all over the city. And don’t forget Kits Pool where kids and adults can splash away the day in an outdoor, heated salt-water pool with a wrap-around view of the city, ocean, and mountains. It’s almost three times the size of an Olympic pool.

Jericho Beach

Jericho Beach

When all the elements are right, fishing and a picnic at the Jericho Beach pier makes for a perfect evening. Enjoy the long, sandy stretch with stunning views of the North Shore Mountains and downtown core. It’s also a great spot for sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and beach volleyball.

Spanish Banks

Spanish Banks

To commemorate the discovery of the Spanish explorers in 1792, the British named this particular shore Spanish Banks. The least crowded of Vancouver’s beaches, this stretch of sand is a wonderful retreat for those who wish to escape from the pace of city life. Skimmers alert: this is the perfect place for skim boarding once you learn the optimal tidal conditions.

English Bay

West End Beaches

The southern edge of the West End neighbourhood has two of the most attractive waterfront urban environments – English Bay and Sunset Beach. Amazingly, this large stretch of sand is no more than a 30-minute walk from Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre and an easy 10-minute walk from Sandman Suites Vancouver Davie – Street, with no commercial exploitation intruding on the peaceful environment. In summer, English Bay becomes a jumping off point for rollerblading adventures, strolling for ice cream, and picnics. Kids will love the floating slide and parents will appreciate the full time lifeguard. It’s also the place to lay down your blanket and look up to the sky during the Honda Celebration of Light international fireworks competition (2014 dates: July 26th, 30th & August 2nd)

Third Beach

Second & Third Beaches

Second Beach is a quick stroll north from English Bay into Stanley Park. Like Kitsilano Beach, Second Beach also has an immense, heated outdoor pool. Further along the seawall lies secluded Third Beach, which is due north of Stanley Park Drive. Locals tote grills and coolers to this spot, a popular place for summer evening barbecues and sunset watching.

Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach

This six-kilometre long, secluded beach is Canada’s first and largest, legal, clothing-optional beach. It’s located at the western tip of Vancouver, adjacent to the University of British Columbia campus, down a long flight of steep stairs. On a summer weekend, as many as 14,000 visitors flock to the beach which stretches from the Musqueam Reserve to Spanish Banks West. Vendors Row, located down the middle of the beach below Trail 6, offers snacks and refreshments. Note: Wreck Beach enthusiasts are a loyal and protective bunch who take their right to “bare” arms, legs and everything else pretty seriously.

Why Waste Time at the Beach?

Research shows that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state. Relaxing in this way can help rejuvenate the mind and body.

Also, floating in water means blood is diverted around from our lower limbs and pumped towards our abdominal region – the part of the body near the heart – because we are no longer standing upright. Fresh blood being pumped around the body brings more oxygen to our brain which makes us more alert and active.

Fresh air for sleep

If you’ve ever wondered why we always sleep more soundly after spending the day on the beach, it’s because of the sea air. Sea air is charged with healthy negative ions that accelerate our ability to absorb oxygen. Negative ions also balance levels of seratonin, a body chemical linked with mood and stress. Which is why after a holiday you feel more alert, relaxed, and energized.

So next time you’re looking for an excuse to spend the day at the beach, the real question is, “Which beautiful Vancouver beach?”

 

The Honda Celebration of Light 2012!

Everything you need to know about this year’s event

Summer arrived a little late in Vancouver this year, but that didn’t stop everyone from taking part in all of the city’s seasonal festivities. From the big guns like the Vancouver Jazz Festival to local celebrations like Main Street Days, residents and tourists alike flocked to the action regardless of rain or shine. With the The Honda Celebration of Light geared up to go this weekend, and the weather heating up to a perfect summer sizzle, the case should be no different, hence why organizers are expecting bigger crowds than ever.

As the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world, The Honda Celebration of Light always gets the city booming with excitement, drawing in approximately 400,000 spectators to the stunning viewing areas in English Bay and Sunset Beach every evening. The event also helps Vancouver rake in an estimated $39 million dollars in incremental tourism and hospitality spending each year – which is pretty impressive if you consider the short duration it runs.

Owned by the Not For Profit Vancouver Fireworks Festival Society, this will be the 22nd consecutive year for the popular competition, and to celebrate, they’ve lined up 3 countries who’ve never participated before: Vietnam, Brazil and Italy.  That means spectators can expect to see some new ideas, sights and sounds, along with a generous new sponsor, the Honda Car Company – who hopes to make everything bigger and better than ever.

 

If you’re a seasoned Celebration of Light goer then you also might notice some of the additions the organizers have made. For example, they are keeping the bleacher seating options on the YVR Observation Deck and The Keg Lounge, two introductions from last year which proved to be popular with spectators looking for a way to skip the crowds.

What’s the difference between the two options? If you simply want to avoid the hassle of finding a seat and arriving early, then bleacher seating is a great pick. You can reserve spots for yourself and friends, while also enjoying the unbeatable view located right beside the Shore 104.3 broadcasting station on the roof of the English Bay bathhouse.

If you’re looking for a view and a party too, then The Keg Lounge is your best bet. Located on top of the roof of the bathhouse in English Bay, this hotspot is front and center to the fireworks barge, and is guaranteed to be exciting from start to finish (hence the 19+ age requirement). Opening at 7:00pm, there will be some of Vancouver’s most popular musicians, delicious hors d’oeuvres by The Keg, drinks and a hip lounge atmosphere right in the heart of Vancouver’s stunning beach scenery. Throw in complimentary drinks and parking and you’ve got your evening made!

As the host radio sponsor, anything close the Shore 104 stage is good because you’ll be able to hear the music that is exclusively synchronized to the fireworks in addition to the pre-show performances and general shenanigans too.

See below for the Shore 104 stage schedule.

Saturday July 28
Shore 104 Stage English Bay
7:30 – 8:15 Zaac Pick
8:30 – 9:30 Bahamas
10:00 Vietnam Fireworks Show

Wednesday August 1
Shore 104 Stage English Bay
7:30 – 8:15 Jets Overhead
8:30 – 9:30 Trews
10:00 Brasil Fireworks Show

Saturday August 4
Shore 104 Stage English Bay
7:30 – 8:15 Hannah Georgas
8:30 – 9:30 Said The Whale
10:00 Italy Fireworks Show

If you want to be in the middle of the action and you love sitting right along the sandy shoreline, then there is plenty of waterfront property for you claim too. With kilometers of beach stretching all the way from Sunset Beach to English Bay, you can stake out some great real estate – so long as you get there early. Veteran beach goers recommend heading down at least 4 hours early to get prime territory in English Bay, possibly a little earlier for the weekend shows. Head down a little later and you’ll still probably see the fireworks, but at a distance.

What’s really new this year, however, is the Rogue Stage, an amazing performance platform that celebrates the cultures of each of the competing countries with food, music, dance, sporting activities, vendors and concession stands. Festivities begin at 2pm on each day of the fireworks: July 28th, August 1st, August 4th, and are a great way for people to occupy their time before the show.

See below for the Rogue Stage schedule.

Saturday July 28
Rogue Stage  Sunset Beach
2:00 – 2:45  Oliver Swain
3:00 – 3:45 Headwater
4:00 – 4:45  Harry Manx
5:00 – 6:00  Barney Bentall
6:00 – 6:30  V3
6:45 – 7:15  SEACHS
7:30 – 8:15  Jim Byrnes and Steve Dawson
10:00  Vietnam Fireworks Show

Wednesday August 1
Rogue Stage  Sunset Beach
4:00 – 4:45  The Breakmen
5:00 – 6:00  Dunstin Bentall and Kendal Carson
6:00 – 6:30  Ache Brasil
6:45 – 7:15  Grupo America
7:30 – 8:15  The Be Good Tanyas
10:00  Brazil Fireworks Show

Saturday August 4
Rogue Stage  Sunset Beach
2:00 – 2:45  Bocephus King
3:00 – 3:45  Partick Brealey
4:00 – 4:45  Viper Central
5:00 – 5:45  Cousin Harley
6:00 – 6:30  Famee Furlane Balletto
6:45 – 7:15  Joel Plaskett
7:30 – 8:15  Great Lake Swimmers
8:30 – 9:30  Patrizia Colletta
10:00  Italy Fireworks Show

Looking for a place to go when the fireworks are done? Then you might want to look into some great hotel packages which, quite simply, ensure that you won’t have to wait in long transit lineups or attempt impromptu crowd surfing at any point.

Our two Downtown Vancouver Sandman locations have some great ideas for anyone seeking a restful, stress- free fireworks affair.

For example, the Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre, has a fireworks package that includes:

  • Accommodations for 2 in a Standard Queen or 2 Doubles Room
  • 2 tickets to the KEG lounge which includes:
    • VIP parking
    • Live music + fireworks soundtrack simulcast
    • 2 complimentary welcome drinks
    • Live entertainment
    • Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and grill station
    • VIP seating and viewing

Schedule & Availability:

  1. Saturday, July 28: Vietnam – SOLD OUT
  2. Wednesday, August 1: Brazil – BOOK NOW
  3. Saturday, August 4: Italy – BOOK NOW

For more info, click here:

Or the Sandman Suites Vancouver on Davie has a fireworks package that includes:

  • Accommodations for 2 in a Queen Suite
  • Free Parking in the heart of the city
  • Breakfast for 2 at Moxie’s Bar &Grill
  • 2 tickets to the KEG lounge which includes:
    • VIP parking
    • Live music + fireworks soundtrack simulcast
    • 2 complimentary welcome drinks
    • Live entertainment
    • Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and grill station
    • VIP seating and viewing

Schedule & Availability:

  1. Saturday, July 28: Vietnam – SOLD OUT
  2. Wednesday, August 1: Brazil – BOOK NOW
  3. Saturday, August 4: Italy – SOLD OUT

For more info, click here:

That’s it! Those are our bright ideas for this year’s competition, and we hope you’re ready to start the 2012 Honda Celebration of Light with a bang!