Port Stanley's annual Canada Day fireworks on main beach were dazzling, as always,
but the short duration left some spectators feeling disappointed. "We came all this
way for that?" one young woman expressed her disappointment to her friend as they
gathered up their folding chairs to leave the beach.
Crowds gathered at the beach for the fireworks display were lighter than they've
been in recent previous years, but then, Canada Day was on a Tuesday this year and
not lumped into the type of "long" weekend scenario we normally associate with a
statutory holiday. My rough estimate of the crowd would be three or four thousand
Noticeably absent this year were the lights of boats dotting the waters just off
shore, all along main beach, as we've seen in prior years. In 2012 there were 100
boats anchored off shore for the fireworks. There were boats massed in the inner
harbour this year but none ventured beyond the Port Stanley lighthouse. The other
change this year was the newly instituted $5 Special Events parking fee at all the
Pay Parking Lots, with the machines reprogrammed to accept this fee and parking
enforcement officers to enforce it.
In prior years the fireworks display on main beach has been about 20 minutes long,
sometimes a bit longer. Since 2008, when a spectator commented "Our finale this
year was better than London's finale last year", a dazzling Port Stanley fireworks
display of about 20 minutes has become tradition, thanks in large part to Canadian
Heritage grants, one of which was received again this year.
This year the fireworks started within a few moments of the scheduled 10:00 p.m.
start time and they were a good, particularly some of the low bursting dazzlers.
Seven and a half minutes after they started low bursting dazzlers were followed
by rapid fire, awe-inspiring high bursting, wide-spreading flaming colours ripping
through the night sky. The crowd of spectators cheered and clapped, and then patiently
waited. They waited about five minutes but no more fireworks lit the night sky.
That last impressive burst 7 1/2 minutes after it started had been the grand
"Is that it?" asked another spectator. "That seems kind of shoddy."
Our Canada Day fireworks were short and sweet, but nonetheless dazzling.