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Canada Day Celebrations and Fireworks

Web posted on June 30, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Every year thousands of people gather on Parliament Hill to see the Canada Day celebrations. We get to watch it on TV around noon. The usual dignitaries arrive with the appropriate pomp. This is followed by a flyover by the Snowbirds, and CF-18s. Next comes a concert by alleged artists of dubious talent at best, performing selections that no one has ever heard of. Boring! In the evening there is a similar concert followed by a short fireworks display. Even more boring. It has been getting worse every year. I checked to see who is going to be performing on Parliament Hill this year, and I have never heard of any of them. It's one thing to highlight new talent, but there should be at least some performers that most people would recognise. Come now, is this the best we can do? This is supposed to be the hub of our national celebrations. I have tried to watch it on TV, but after the flypasts, it's time to change the channel.

Our friends down south have nationally televised Fourth of July celebrations, from Washington, New York, and Boston just to name a few. They highlight some of their best talent and have much better fireworks displays. To be honest these are more interesting to watch. They actually perform some songs that almost everyone (including us Canadians) recognizes. Yes, they have all sorts of patriotic songs, but so do we.

We really need to come up with something for the 150th anniversary of Confederation celebrations next year rather than the drivel they are giving us. A lot of money is being thrown at the celebrations for next year. Let's hope that some of that money will go towards a proper celebration on Parliament Hill. Details are rather scarce at the moment. There are many great songs about all parts of Canada from coast to coast, by world class artists we recognize. I am sure that every one of us could name at least half a dozen songs about Canada, or distinctly Canadian. It really shouldn't be all that difficult. Let's highlight these songs, rather than the current stuff (calling some of it music might be somewhat generous) that says nothing about Canada. We can be just as patriotic as our friends down south in our own way.

We need to create a new tradition that we can be proud of. I am sure that our networks should be able come up with coverage of some wonderful events around the country. There must be something worth watching from Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, or Vancouver just to name a few places. I am sure that many celebrations in smaller communities are much better than what is given to us by the CBC. We have a year to come up with a celebration of the music of, and most importantly, about Canada.

We have the talent. What we don't have are production people willing to put together a quality show that we could be proud of. Look at the debacle that was the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games last year. They brought in American talent for a production that was supposed to about Canada. We all have different tastes in music, there are two official languages and let's not forget our indigenous people, so it would take a lot of hard work to come up with a blend that all generations could enjoy, or at least tolerate briefly.

I have always been a fan of the large fireworks displays done by professionals. Even as a kid back in London I was more interested in watching the big displays rather than setting off firecrackers and cherry bombs. We didn't have the choice of fireworks like we do today. I also figured why should I pay for something when I can watch it for free. I was careful (cheap) how I spent my money.

I am not impressed by the current situation where we have several nights of fireworks going off around Victoria Day and Canada Day. In spite of what we are being told about bylaw enforcement, it is getting worse not better. I realize that it must be a very difficult bylaw to enforce, but something needs to be done. There were at least three days before Victoria Day and several afterwards with fireworks going off. Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights sounded like war zones. It scares the living daylights out of most dogs, not to mention the other wildlife out there. It also scares some little kids and babies. Then there are the idiots (probably having consumed more adult beverages than they should have) who take great delight in setting them off at all hours of the night Some of these characters don't even start until 11. They shouldn't setting them off past 10:30 at the absolute latest.

As much as I am not a fan of home fireworks displays, if they were to happen on the two designated days of the year (or designated rain dates) I could live with it. I am sure that there are many responsible people who follow the rules. As always it is the idiots out there who are ruining it for everyone.

My unreasonable solution would be to ban all fireworks except for the professional ones at Riverside Park. I am sure that there could be some more reasonable solutions, such as firework sales restricted to the two days before the event. Anyone buying fireworks must first buy a permit from the city indicating the location date and time of setting them off, including the rain date(s). The permit should cost at least $100. Fines would start at ten times the permit price. I would also like to see the sale of fireworks exceeding a certain decibel level banned. I think that I am still being just a bit unreasonable. I hope that there is solution that works for everyone out there. Those of you who play by the rules, thank you.

All of the local weather forecasts are indicating a chance of some type of precipitation for Friday. If it isn't raining I will be watching the fireworks from the comfort of my place. I have a great view, so there is no need to fight the crowds at Riverside Park.

Have a safe and enjoyable Canada Day, and Happy Fourth of July to our American friends. As always, if you plan to drink, don't drive.

Late Breaking News: Westley and Buttercup the two Rodents Of Unusual Size have been reunited. Westley was captured Tuesday morning. It's nice to have them back together, besides, I was starting run out of Princess Bride jokes.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.