Calgary reconsiders fireworks on Canada Day

The City of Calgary has reversed its decision to remove traditional fireworks from this years Canada Day celebration. Elissa Carpenter reports.

After fireworks online and in council chambers, it’s been decided the traditional aerial fireworks display will go ahead on Canada Day in Calgary.

The city announced the decision reversal a week after it said there would only be stage pyrotechnics on July 1.

“We have heard from many Calgarians, as well as members of city council, that while the pilot program is valued, they would also appreciate an aerial fireworks display to celebrate on July 1,” city manager David Duckworth said in a statement. “We are working with partners to confirm an appropriate site and will share details as they become available.”

Earlier on Thursday, ten councilors sponsored a notice of motion to direct administration to bring back the sky-high fireworks for the national holiday. That motion, sponsored by councilors Chabot, Chu, Demong, Dhaliwal, McLean, Mian, Sharp, Spencer, Wong and Wyness, was going to be debated at the June 1 council meeting.

Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott said he also supports the return of the traditional fireworks display. In a blog post, he said it was important that “we as a city have discussions about how and why we celebrate Canada.”

Walcott said the city’s arts and culture team recently decided to have the stage pyro instead of higher-altitude fireworks in response to “several challenges.”

“It’s clear that this conversation goes beyond fireworks. I look forward to the discussion this topic has sparked,” Walcott wrote on social media.

The decision from city officials caught councilors by surprise.

On May 18, the city said it was launching a pilot program on Canada Day celebrations, citing “cultural sensitivities.”

That announcement said the city recognized those sensitivities around fireworks in relation to Truth and Reconciliation. It noted that July 1 marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act.

City officials also said it had heard concerns about traffic, parking, noise and other nuisances on streets that have become popular to watch past fireworks displays from.

“We’re not cancelling Canada Day,” Duckworth told council on Tuesday.

Canada Day celebrations in Calgary will continue to offer a variety of offerings to “celebrate culture and community,” and the already-planned pyrotechnic show at the stage in Fort Calgary will be going forward.

“Programming will be a mix of participatory, celebratory, and reflective experiences,” said Jeff Chase, director of partnerships with the city. “Calgarians will have a variety of options to observe July 1 in a way most meaningful to them.”

On Wednesday, the Port of Vancouver announced it was cancelling Canada Day fireworks there “primarily due to rising costs.”

— With files from Simon Little, Global News

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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