Friday, July 2, 2010

Holiday: This Year, Weston Fireworks

The fireworks at Weston Lions Park in Toronto, Ontario were short but enjoyable on 1-July-2010

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Since moving to Toronto in 2006, I've made a point of attending a different fireworks display on each Canada Day. There are so many to choose from here that it didn't seem appropriate to settle on one and make it a tradition until I had sampled at least most of them, if not all of them.

Canadian band "Cuff the Duke" performed at North York Civic Centre before the fireworks display on 1-July-2006

I started the tour in 2006 with the North York fireworks. In terms of an overall show, the event at Mel Lastman Square probably provides the best experience I've seen, as one can take a chair and find a place with a view of the stage which has live acts right up to fireworks time. The fireworks themselves are all set off above the building, making for a less than spectacular show compared with other offerings around town, but still not something that can be seen every day. The adjacent subway station made it relatively easy, if crowded, to exit after the event.

The fireworks display was second-to-none at Ashbridge's Bay in Toronto, Ontario on 1-July-2007

In 2007, I decided to attend the Ashbridge's Bay fireworks on Toronto's eastern beaches. This may be the most traditional of the displays, with people playing on the beach until it gets dark, followed by fireworks that would rival a display anywhere. However, being at the outer reach of the city, transportation leaving the event was a nightmare--the best route out is probably to walk all the way north to the Bloor-Danforth subway.

Fireworks lit up the sky above Downsview Park in Toronto, Ontario on 1-July-2008

Next on my tour was Downsview Park on 1-July-2008. Downsview may be the best place to take children, as the carnival rides and busker performances keep them occupied in the long wait as the skies darken. The fireworks rival Ashbridge's Bay, but public transport leaving is pathetic--the TTC doesn't even try to accommodate the crowds. It's probably best to walk around the north end of the airport to the subway station.

The fireworks came right off the building at Mississauga's Town Centre on 1-July-2009

With Toronto on strike in 2009, I headed west to check out the display at Mississauga Town Centre, as I described last year. This display did seem to have it all--a concert to watch before the fireworks start, and a great 25-minute display against a nice backdrop.

A relatively small crowd was gathered at Weston Lions Park in Toronto, Ontario as daylight faded away on 1-July-2010

I went for a very different experience this year. I took a (long) walk to the Weston neighbourhood where I observed the kind of Canada Day celebration that one might expect in a small town. A band played on a stage that fit inside a tent, various local food vendors sold food, and perhaps a few hundred people gathered on sports fields where children kicked soccer balls around until the lights went out and the fireworks began. It was only a ten minute display, but it was an exciting one. When it was all over, the crowds were not terrible to fight, and it was nice to just walk home.

Next year? I still haven't done the large Centennial Park display, or any of several other smaller events that likely resemble Weston. Who knows what I may feel like...

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