Co-operatives Build a Better World

Shining the Spotlight on Co-ops in Canada’s Arctic

Co-op Week is a national celebration of co-operatives and credit unions which takes place across Canada during the third week of October each year. The Flag Shop has many friends in the co-op sector, a world which opened up to us in a very big way back in 2011. In the weeks leading up to Co-op Week 2017, we will be highlighting some of our co-op and credit union clients.

Our President, Susan Braverman, has been on the board of Common Thread Co-op for the last several years and understands the power and the human impact of co-operatives. It was through her ties with Common Thread Co-op that she was first introduced to Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC), in 2011. In 2012, the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives (IYC), The Flag Shop supplied co-op enterprises with all they needed to make a big splash for the year – everything from banners and flags, to pop-up tents, pennant strings, zoomflags, lapel pins, decals and tablecloths. Susan said, “This was the beginning of a deeper understanding of the real beauty of the co-op business model: a way of doing business that brings lasting human impact, where co-op members are actually owners who set the direction of the business.” She added, “Using this model, ordinary people advance themselves both socially and economically and, without a doubt, we are thrilled to be a part of something that is driven by a deep sense of community and co-operation.”

Through the CMC, The Flag Shop connected with co-ops and credit unions across Canada, including Arctic Co-operatives Limited (Arctic Co-ops). Arctic Co-ops is a co-operative service federation, which is owned and democratically controlled by 32 community-owned co-operative businesses across Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon. The primary role of the federation is to co-ordinate the resources and combined purchasing power of these multi-purpose co-ops as they work together to provide essential services in their own communities. These services include retail grocery stores, hotels, fuel distribution, arts and crafts marketing, cable television, and property rentals.

Co-op celebrations reaching Arctic communities throughout Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and Yukon.

Co-operatives in Canada’s Arctic share a vision of people working together to improve their well-being. These co-ops put into practice their principles such as “Concern for Community”, “Member Economic Participation” and “Voluntary and Open Membership”, giving ordinary people a voice to be heard and a sense of belonging. In many cases, these co-ops are the heart and soul of the communities they serve. They put people before profit and reinvest in their communities. This is the power of the co-operative: members share everything including ownership, decision-making and profits.

Thriving since 1959, even in the face of many obstacles, such as harsh weather conditions, isolation, and huge changes to their traditional ways of life, the Co-op System in the Arctic has endured, showing the remarkable spirit of the people who call the Arctic their home. Co-ops are about people who join together for social and economic advancement, to build communities, and to help themselves by helping each other.

With all this in mind, is it any wonder at all that we would take such joy in helping co-ops in the Arctic celebrate Co-op Week for the past five years? As we gear up for Co-op Week, which is only a few weeks away, we wish the very best to Arctic Co-ops and to the 32 member co-ops who depend on you every day.

These products are made by The Flag Shop for Arctic Co-ops to promote and celebrate Co-op Week, 2017.

For more information about Co-op Week, please visit the Co-ops and Mutuals Canada website.

The Flag Shop is the source for official Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and ICA Co-op Marque branded products! For more information, please visit:

We Can All Pitch In to Help BC Recover

Recognizing International Days of Charity and of Peace

Communities across British Columbia have been devastated by wildfires for months and fires are still raging. As part of our efforts to recognize the International Days of Charity and Peace, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly, The Flag Shop wants to show that there is no limit to what we can accomplish together!

Wildfires has costed BC $464 million so far. Image Source: CBC News

All orange & red dots, and fire symbols are active fires in BC as of September 6, 2017

To bring relief and hope to those affected by the fires, The Flag Shop Vancouver is excited to announce that profits from the sale of all Canada 150 stock products and World Peace flag products will be donated to help BC communities impacted by wildfires. During the entire month of September, 100% of the profits from every item sold at our Vancouver store will be donated to Food Banks BC. This translates to the potential to reach over $50,000.

Canada 150 and World Peace flags

Our President, Susan Braverman said, “I have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to experience total loss and devastation by fire, something that I witnessed as a teen when I drove up to a friend’s home that had burned to the ground”. She added, “Even though many years have passed, I still remember how I felt to see my friend go through the horrific realization that her home had been wiped out.”

To help those in need who have been impacted by the wildfires, we are thrilled to partner with Food Banks BC, which supports food banks across BC. The vision of Food Banks BC is to promote a hunger-free future through sustainable fundraising and partnerships.

In 2016, Food Banks BC distributed more than 1.8 million pounds of food worth nearly 4.5 million dollars to its food banks. Through its BC Share program, community food banks receive more than $1 million of fresh produce and dairy products! With community support, Food Banks BC can better support its 100 food banks to wipe out chronic hunger in our local communities and provide lasting solutions to hunger.

Save-On-Foods delivered a full truck of items to the food bank in Ashcroft to help evacuees of the BC Wildfire in July, 2017.

Canadians are known around the globe as peacekeepers. We’re also known for our generosity, compassion and caring. Now more than ever, as we recognize Canada’s 150th birthday year, it’s a great time for us to show our true Canadian colours. When our neighbours are in crisis and need a hand, we step up and do our part. We have the privilege of living in the best country in the world and it’s the people of Canada who make this country great!

For details and to make your mark today, please visit The Flag Shop Vancouver’s fundraising page. We’ll be keeping an ongoing tally, so make sure you check back to see the progress of the fundraising effort for yourself. This fundraising campaign is only at The Flag Shop Vancouver.

This is our chance to be a part of something bigger – something that will create a lasting ripple effect of hope for those who need it now. Please join us as we change the world one flag at a time!

BC Wildfires Continue to Rage in Our Communities

We Can All Pitch in to Help BC Recover

It’s almost incomprehensible to believe BC has had over 1100 fires and more than 300 buildings have been destroyed in wildfires this year. The wildfires have affected communities in the areas of Kamloops, 100 Mile House, Prince George, Cache Creek, Kelowna, Williams Lake and many others, burning more than 1,054,000 hectares, across our province. Many are facing loss, devastation and uncertainty as the wildfires continue to rage right here in our own backyard. Our neighbours, friends and families need our help now, more than ever!

July 7, 2017: A wildfire burns on a mountain near Ashcroft, B.C. Image Source: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

This is our chance to be part of something big! When we realized the month of September is all about charity and peace, we decided to go a little crazy. The United Nations established the International Day of Charity to focus attention on helping others. Officially declared by the UN General Assembly in 2012, September 5 was chosen in memory of Mother Teresa, who passed away on this date in 1997. Throughout her life, she dedicated herself to helping the helpless, poor and sick. Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.”

The International Day of Peace, known as “Peace Day” is recognized around the world on September 21, and provides a shared date for all of humanity to commit to living in peace and rise above all differences.

We can all be a part of a huge ripple effect which will bring hope and relief to those who need it now. At The Flag Shop, we care about connecting with our community and in our daily work we bring peace and happiness through every relationship and every connection we make with others. It’s through these connections where we find our joy.

For the month of September, we will do everything we possibly can to make a real and positive difference in the lives of those who are suffering. Our President, Susan Braverman said, “The devastation of the wildfires in BC is on-going, even if it isn’t always the day’s top story.” She added, “People impacted by fires are still facing uncertainty and any form of struggle gets in the way of peace.”

Image Source: The Canadian Press

In these words attributed to Mother Teresa:
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received; how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’ Hungry not only for bread – but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing, but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks, but homeless because of rejection.”

We’ll be announcing our plans on Tuesday, September 5, which happens to coincide with the International Day of Charity.

Stay tuned to our weekly blog so you won’t miss a thing. Be “in the know” and up-to-date on everything we’re doing by subscribing here. (unsubscribe at any time).

Get ready to be a part of something bigger! And join us as we change the world one flag at a time!

Pacific National Exhibition – A Vancouver Mainstay Since 1910

The Fair at the PNE Opening Day: Saturday, August 19, 2017

The PNE has been a Vancouver institution since it first began way back in 1910. Kids of all ages still get excited over the Fair at the PNE opening day, which is coming up quicker than you can say, “Roasted BBQ Cricket Burger!”

The Fair at the PNE is a long-awaited highlight of summer in Vancouver, offering activities and fun for everyone: Midway rides for adrenaline junkies, fair foods for the foodies, and a mind-boggling line-up of live musical performances, to name just a few. This year the fair runs from August 19 – September 4, with planned closures on August 21 and 28.

Image Source: Jenn Chan Photography / Flickr

We have been supplying the PNE with street banners for many years, to engage and inform the public while creating anticipation about the fair. We love being a part of making our city streets, bridges and skyline even more beautiful. If you’re in the Vancouver area, you can see the banners for yourself on East Hastings and on the Granville Street Bridge.

Our President, Susan Braverman said, “Believe it or not, I was still in high school when The Flag Shop first began making street banners for the PNE. That alone paints quite a picture!” She added, “The Fair at the PNE is such an important event in our community, it’s not easy to put into words what it means to be working with the PNE for all these years. To say it’s an honour and a privilege would be an understatement!”

PNE Street Banners

What’s New This Year at the PNE
In recognition of Canada 150, the RCMP Musical Ride will perform at the fair as part of its Canada-wide tour. The musical ride has been a Canadian tradition since 1876. Mounties wearing the Red Serge ride a full troop of 32 black Hanoverian horses and perform precision drills reflecting the historic cavalry techniques that were once a part of RCMP training.

Image Source: John McQuarrie

The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Legends of Hockey Exhibit is a must-see for all hockey lovers. This massive exhibit will feature many of the game’s greatest players and hockey memorabilia including photography, video and artifacts. If you love the national winter sport of Canada, this one’s for you.

Image Source: PNE – Legends of Hockey Exhibit

If kettle corn, funnel cakes and beaver tails are more your thing, you won’t be disappointed. For those looking for something new and adventurous, how about cricket fries or deep fried Jello? Yum!

Image Source: PNE

Don’t miss the incredible line-up of live performances at the PNE Amphitheatre:

  • Saturday, August 19: Mother Mother
  • Sunday, August 20: Billy Currington
  • Tuesday, August 22: The Pointer Sisters
  • Wednesday, August 23: High Valley
  • Thursday, August 24: ZZ Top
  • Friday, August 25: Chicago
  • Saturday, August 26: Colin James
  • Sunday, August 27: Huey Lewis and The News
  • Tuesday, August 29: Tom Cochrane with Red Rider
  • Wednesday, August 30: The B-52s
  • Thursday, August 31: The Doobie Brothers
  • Friday, September 1: Rick Springfield
  • Saturday, September 2: The Gipsy Kings featuring Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo

For more information about the Fair at the PNE, please visit their official website.

Celebration of Canada 150, the Canoe, and Indigenous Culture

The Gibsons Paddle Club Sunshine Coast Journey

We’re still hearing inspiring stories of Canada’s 150th birthday. This week, we highlight the Sunshine Coast Canoe Journey, an epic trip planned by the Gibsons Paddle Club. The journey, which took place in June, honoured Canada’s 150th birthday, the canoe, and the First Nation culture of cooperation. And what a sight it was to see every canoe adorned with the Canadian Native Flag!

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Curtis Wilson is the designer of the Canadian Native Flag, and his inspiration was to create a design that represents both his aboriginal heritage and at the same time, his Canadian heritage. The Flag Shop President, Susan Braverman said, “Curtis and I just spoke last week and I learned that people across Canada love this flag as much as I do!” She adds, “This beautiful design promotes unity among all Canadians and I was so excited to hear steps are now in motion to rename the flag as the Canadian Aboriginal Flag.”

On June 13, nine canoes from across BC and Alberta met at the Backeddy Marina in Edgemont. Placing the canoes in the water, the group held their first of many circles. This is a tradition which has been passed down by generations of first nation paddlers. They told stories and heard drumming by Andy Johnson and Terry Aleck.

On day two they paddled in the early morning drizzle through the calm waters of the Skookumchuck, as eagles flew overhead. The tide was with the team, who stopped for lunch on the Inlet. After a very windy afternoon, the team struggled to pull over to their campsite for the night. Sechelt elder Barb Higgins told stories, captivating the paddlers after a long day of paddling.

Still rainy and windy on the third day, plans changed and the team paddled to Poise Island – sacred to the Sechelt Nation – and while there, they heard moving stories of illness and death at the time when they first encountered settlers. Hauling the canoes out of the water, they were welcomed by school children and teachers, who braved the rain to greet them. The team portaged their canoes across town, escorted by an RCMP patrol car. With the heavy downpour, the Sechelt band opened the daycare centre where they were able to take shelter. They spent the evening at the Sechelt Longhouse and were treated to a cultural celebration and feast.

On day four, the weather improved and the paddling crews prepared for a long paddle to Gibsons. Stopping for lunch at Roberts Creek, the grandmothers prepared a lunch and a local ukulele band sang and played while the paddlers rested.

After the long paddle the day before, the fifth day was a day of rest. Out of town visitors experienced the beautiful ocean playground, paddling around Keats Island and the Paisleys. Then they were off to the Jazz Festival and supper at Gibsons Public Market., It was a festive evening of good speeches, great food, and dancing!

On the final day, crews paddled a long 38 km back to Vancouver. The weather was misty and cool and the tides and currents were with them. Finally, through the mist they saw the first buildings of West Vancouver. Wes Nahanee of the Squamish First Nation and the West Vancouver Police greeted the paddlers as the epic journey came to an end.

Congratulations to the organizers and paddling crew on this important journey, paying homage to the people of our great nation, the canoe, and the first nation culture of cooperation.

For more information, please visit Gibsons Paddle Club’s web site.

West End BIA Supports Vancouver Pride

Denman. Davie. Robson. Three Great Streets. One Amazing Neighbourhood.

That’s right – One Amazing Neighbourhood! That’s thanks to the West End Business Improvement Association (WEBIA), an amazing non-profit organization supporting businesses along the West End’s three main commercial streets.

Covering Davie, Denman and Robson, each street has its own designated colour highlighting its uniqueness. Denman is blue, reflecting the ocean and blue summer skies. Robson is green, symbolizing the greenery of Stanley Park. And Davie is purple, in recognition of Davie Village’s role in supporting the Gay Pride Movement.

Speaking of Pride, it’s time to celebrate in Vancouver and we’re thrilled to be part of it all! The Flag Shop has been a supporter of the Gay Pride Movement dating back 40 years, when we first produced rainbow flags and decals for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. We’re getting so excited about Pride Fest coming up this Sunday we’re even testing out our Pride booth in The Flag Shop parking lot!

Join us on Sunday, August 6 at Sunset Beach from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. We love this festival because it’s a safe place to celebrate individual uniqueness and self-expression, while at the same time it’s a collective expression against bullying, oppression and violence. We hope to see you at our booth where we’ll have everything you need to express your pride! The 39th Annual Pride Parade is a huge part of Pride Fest and will run that day from noon – 3 p.m., starting on Robson, turning down Denman, and then onto Beach Ave. On Friday, August 4th, Davie Village will be the place to be for one of Vancouver’s best outdoor parties, the Davie Street Block Party.

Vancouver Pride Festival 2016. Image Source: Vancouver Pride Society

The Flag Shop President, Susan Braverman said, “It’s a very important weekend for the West End BIA, with the block party on Friday, the Celebration of Light on Saturday and the Pride Parade on Sunday!” She adds, “We’ve been working with the West End BIA for years now and I have to say it warms my heart to see the strong sense of community and public engagement, right in the neighbourhood where I grew up – and it’s all because of the dedicated work of the BIA.”

This week’s blog is a big shout out to the WEBIA, home to the best restaurants, stunning beaches, and of course, Pride! The West End attracts thousands of visitors to the area every year for the Pride Parade, so if you ask us, it’s pretty clear the WEBIA is doing a bang up job fulfilling its mission to promote and revitalize the West End.

Image Source: West End BIA

For more information about the West End BIA, and its Pride activations in the West End, please visit the WEBIA website.

For information about Pride in Vancouver, visit the Vancouver Pride Society website.

See you at Pride Fest!

It’s Pride Fest in Vancouver | Sunday, August 6, 2017

Vancouver Pride Festival 2016. Image Source: Vancouver Pride Society /

Upcoming Events Celebrating Individual Uniqueness

It’s going to be a HUGE celebration for the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver and we’re thrilled to be part of the festivities. Who needs a social planner when you’ve got The Flag Shop weekly blog? There are so many events happening in Vancouver, we couldn’t possibly name them all!

Here are just a few highlights, leading up to Pride Fest:

Downtown Pride Premiere
Wednesday, July 26, 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.
On both levels of Robson Square
Take in the live music, roving performers and interactive art. While you’re there, visit the community village for games and resources.

Prance on the Pier
Wednesday, August 2, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Shipyards, 25 Wallace Mews
Check out the 1st Prance on the Pier, a free, all-ages dance with music, food, drag performances and games.

Davie Street Party
Friday, August 4, 6 p.m. – midnight
In Davie Village, between Burrard and Jervis
Enjoy the beer garden with the party spilling out from the Community Stage at Davie Street’s historic Rainbow Crosswalk on Bute Street.

Man Up Pride: The Gender Adventure
Friday, August 4, 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.
917 Main Street
If you’ve never experienced a Pride Man Up – Get! In! To! The! Groove! Don’t miss performances by Vixen Von Flex, Owen + Papi J, Jem + Ponyboy and more.

Vancouver Trans March 2017
Friday, August 4, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
1500 E 14th Avenue
Meet up at Clark Park at 5:30. Remember your signs or make them with supplies we provide! Be free and fab and wear what you like!

Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast
Saturday August 5, 8:30 a.m.
Jim Deva Plaza in the Davie Village
The Vancouver Pride Society is hosting a by-donation community breakfast honouring the memory of Terry Wallace, one of the founders of Pride in Vancouver.

14th Annual Dyke March & Festival
Saturday August 5, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The march will leave McSpadden Park at noon, moving down Commercial Drive and ending at Grandview Park for the festival. Featuring queer-friendly displays and performing artists, come out and join the fun with the community, friends and family.

Sunday, August 6 is the BIG Day!
Pride Fest is happening at Sunset Beach from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and YES – we will be there! We love this festival because it is a safe and super fun environment for self-expression and a collective, public declaration of anti-bullying. Stop by our booth and we’ll set you up to express your pride!

The Parade
The 39th Annual Pride Parade, a major highlight, runs from noon – 3 p.m., starting on Robson, turning down Denman, and then onto Beach Ave. It ends at Beach Ave and Pacific.

Our Pride and Anti-Bullying websites honour the truth that we are all equally deserving of the basic rights of freedom of expression and freedom from oppression. We are thrilled to work with Canada’s LGBTQ2+ communities in support of efforts to end discrimination and violence, while promoting self-affirmation, dignity and equality rights.

The Flag Shop booth at the Vancouver Pride Festival in 2016.

For more information about Pride Fest, please visit the Vancouver Pride Society’s official website.

See you at Pride Fest!

2017 Powell Street Festival | August 5 & 6 | 11:30 – 7:00

Japanese Canadian Arts and Culture Connecting Communities

It’s time to get ready for the Powell Street Festival, whether you’re interested in film, martial arts, live music, Ikebana demos (flower arranging), sumo wrestling, dance, crafts, Taiko, theatre, Anime, childrens’ activities or Japanese food – there’s something for everyone.

The Powell Street Festival is rich in arts and culture and has been around for over 40 years. Featuring more than 20 food vendors, delicious Japanese fare will be available through stalls lining Dunlevy and Jackson. Be sure to visit Macro-Maki to dress up in pillow-sized sushi costumes and take selfies on a massive sushi tray. The craft market will offer original, one-of-a-kind, hand-made goods.

Image Source: Powell Street Festival

This year’s program includes a captivating mix of regional and international talent. Japanese blues, anyone? George & Noriko are a dynamic duo of a Japanese blues cowboy and a Tsugaru shamisen player, from Melbourne, Australia. Ensemble Liberta will play their classical Japanese instruments, and Kisyuu will do live calligraphy demos. If you like Taiko (Japanese drumming and percussion), JODAIKO from California will be there, too! If you like film, screenings co-presented with the Hapa-palooza Festival will include award-winning short film Born with It, as well as episodes from Almost Asian, starring Katie Malia, who will also attend.

Our client, The Powell Street Festival Society, which organizes and produces this event, is guided by a vision of a society which is enriched and interconnected through Japanese Canadian arts and culture. The society encourages the recognition of Japanese Canadians as a creative force within our community.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6 to be a part of the largest Japanese Canadian festival in Canada. The main location is Oppenheimer Park in the 400 block of Powell Street, with festival activities spilling over to surrounding areas of the Firehall Arts Centre on Cordova Street, the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall on Alexander Street and the Vancouver Buddhist Temple on Jackson Avenue. When you’re in the area, check out the street banners up at Victory Square and on Main Street between National and Southern.

Oppenheimer Park. Image Source: Space2Place

The festival showcases Japanese talent and culture, and it’s also a community building opportunity. The event helps to build a community bridge so the people of the community can experience the beauty and diversity of Japanese Canadian arts and culture.

We’re so excited because this festival is happening right down the street from us, in our own neighbourhood! Don’t forget your Japanese flag and your Canada/Japan Friendship Pins.

Farm-to-Table Lifestyle Bursting with Heritage and History

A May to October Love Affair to Remember

Farmer’s market season is here in BC and we love that we have so many amazing markets to choose from! Whether it’s the Mount Pleasant, the Hastings Park, or the Kitsilano Farmers Market, don’t miss your chance to experience the fun of shopping at the markets in your neighbourhood. Aside from the fun of it all, there are many other awesome benefits to think about. Super fresh fruits and vegetables bursting with flavour and goodness remind us all what fruits and vegetables are meant to taste like.

This week we’re focusing on one of our clients, the New West Farmers Market, located at Tipperary Park in New Westminster, which is open for business until October, on Thursdays from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. Be sure to get there early to experience the best of the market, including farm-fresh produce, local crafts, prepared gourmet foods, and live entertainment. And while you’re there, check out the street banners displayed against the bright blue sky! The mission of the New West Farmers Market Association is to focus on environmentally sustainable food production by bringing locally grown and produced foods to the community, thereby contributing to local economic development, healthy eating, and food security while connecting with our heritage of having a vibrant city market.

Image Source: New West Farmers Market

New West Farmers Market banners, made by The Flag Shop Vancouver. Image Source: New West Farmers Market

Susan Braverman, The Flag Shop President said, “I will never forget the first time I ever went to the farmer’s market. I bit into a piece of freshly harvested cauliflower and it was the best I had ever eaten in my life!” She added, “I didn’t realize this is exactly how fruits and vegetables are supposed to taste.”

This is the beauty of the farmers market: the fruits and vegetables ripen in the field and are brought directly to the market. They have not been shipped long distances, have not been gassed to force ripening, and they have not been sitting in storage for weeks before reaching your table. It’s the best available produce because it’s been grown and harvested in your own community.

Knowing what’s in season is easy at the farmer’s market because whatever is growing is what they are selling. Favorites include berries and corn on the cob in summer, and pumpkins and apples in the fall. If you enjoy connecting with your community and knowing exactly where your food comes from, just head out to your local farmers market!

Image Source: New West Farmers Market

Farming reminds us all of simpler times when we knew where our food came from and we knew the people who grew it. And, even though the world has changed dramatically, we all share a basic understanding of what it means to live off the land. Farming is an important part of our collective heritage, and contributes to the local economy. Buying locally-grown produce means supporting farming families, while they feed ours. People are opting for fresh fruits and vegetables, artisan foods such as local cheeses, as well as proteins, home-style baked goods and even locally-grown flowers.

Image Source: New West Farmers Market

If you plan on doing the circuit, or for more information about farmers markets, please visit for BC, or for options across Canada.

2017 Honda Celebration of Light | July 29 | August 2 | August 5 |

Celebration of Fireworks, Live Outdoor Music and Local Foods

For nearly 30 years, Vancouverites have experienced the beauty and majesty of the Honda Celebration of Light, a world-class fireworks display and competition which attracts 1.4 million local, regional and international visitors each year. Word is, until you’ve seen Vancouver’s Celebration of Light, you’ve never really seen fireworks the way they’re meant to be seen. Known as one of the major events in the city, its fireworks illuminate the sky over English Bay for three nights, ending on the Saturday of the August long weekend.

Image Source: Celebration of Light

We have been supporting this event for many years, supplying flags to the throngs of people making their way to the celebration. Since 2013, we have been working with the event organizer and producers, supplying the street banners that create anticipation in the community and make our streets look even more beautiful. You can see them for yourself on the Granville Street Bridge.

Honda Celebration of Light banners in 2015

The festival’s core purpose is to “spark togetherness.” So, is it really any wonder we’re thrilled to be a part of it all? Our friends at the West End BIA feel the same as we do! Keep your eyes to the sky to see more street banners coming soon to the West End, right where the celebration will be happening.

Image Source: Celebration of Light

Image Source: Celebration of Light

How Did It All Start? Mr. Fireworks Brings Celebration to Vancouver
Raymond Greenwood, Mr. Fireworks himself, and his wife Stephanie went to Montreal 30 years ago to participate in the Pyrodyne Corporation fireworks competition. They were inspired by the awe and wonder of it all. As the driving force behind bringing this iconic festival to Vancouver, Raymond said, “From day one, this event has been a booming success and all these years later, it’s still a major community event, which brings global interest and attendance.” He adds, “The idea that people from all corners of the world come to be a part of something truly spectacular, it makes me very proud.”

The Honda Celebration of Light (originally known as Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire and then the HSBC Symphony of Fire) is an annual musical fireworks competition. The first Symphony of Fire was held in 1990. Today, this event is known as one of Vancouver’s largest festivals. It is recognized as the longest running off-shore fireworks competition in the world. This year, the competition will feature companies from Japan (Akariya Fireworks), the United Kingdom (Jubilee Fireworks) and Canada (Royal Pyrotechnie). To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, each of the competitors will be required to include one iconic Canadian song in their display.

“Check Out the Stage Before You Watch the Sky”
As if the fireworks were not enough to draw the crowds, the Celebration of Light kicks off each afternoon with live music at Sunset Beach. Known as ShoreFest, it is Vancouver’s largest community concert, and is free of charge. Musicians begin performing in the early afternoon and leading up to fireworks in the evening.

Image Source: Celebration of Light

For more information about this year’s event, please visit their official website.