canada day fireworks ontario

Fireworks are still legal in Ontario despite cancellation of shows for Canada Day

Nothing says Canada Day in Ontario quite like a spectacular fireworks show, but many of the annual celebrations are cancelled this year as a result of the pandemic.

So, understandably, some residents are wondering if they're allowed to use fireworks on private property. 

According to the City of Toronto, fireworks on private property may only be used without a permit on both Victoria Day and Canada Day. 

In other words, anyone who wants to use fireworks on their own property on Canada Day is free to do so without any form of permission or permit.

On any other day of the year (besides Victoria Day and Canada Day), residents would need a permit from Toronto Fire Services to legally use fireworks at home. 

But while fireworks displays are permitted in private backyards on this holiday, Torontonians should note that they must comply with the City of Toronto fireworks bylaw (Bylaw 1422-2007, Municipal Code 466).

"Toronto Fire Services advises that fireworks have the potential to cause serious injury," notes a City of Toronto webpage about fireworks safety.

"If you plan to host your own display, make sure responsible adults supervise. Take the time to prepare, protect and prevent: prepare for a safe display, protect all participants/viewers and prevent a fireworks-related accident."

The webpage also includes a list of safety precautions to take when planning to launch a fireworks display in your backyard. 

The city says residents should always purchase fireworks from a retailer displaying a city-issued fireworks vendor permit, read and follow the manufacturer's label directions, keep them out of reach of children and make sure to discharge the fireworks from a safe distance of combustible materials such as buildings and trees.

"Before they are ignited, fireworks should be buried at least half their length into a bucket of sand if portable firing bases are not available," the webpage states. "Plant the fireworks directly into the sand to make sure each piece is firmly supported and is aimed straight and away from the audience."

People lighting fireworks should make sure to do so at arm's length, and they should stand back and keep their face turned away. If a firework fails to ignite, it should not be re-lit. Instead, individuals should let it sit in the base for 10 to 15 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.

Wearing eye protection is also important for the adult lighting the firework, and having any part of his or her body over the firework should be avoided at all costs. 

Other important rules for launching fireworks include never throwing or pointing fireworks at other people, never carrying fireworks in a pocket, never discharging fireworks in metal or glass containers, and never discharging fireworks indoors.

"In order to prevent an accident or injury, sparklers should be doused with water, or allowed to cool in a safe place away from children playing. The ends of sparklers continue to stay hot for some time and will easily burn a child's skin, clothing or other nearby combustible material," according to the city.

Ignited fireworks should also never be hand-held, only one firework should be lit at a time, and those doing the lighting should always have water on hand — a garden hose and bucket of water — to soak fireworks after they have fired.

Used fireworks should be soaked thoroughly with water before being disposed of in a garbage bin, and should never be put in the recycling.

It should also be noted that Toronto's parks may not be used for personal fireworks displays.

And while this may seem like a long list of rules to follow during a celebratory occasion, nothing is more important than safety when setting off fireworks near your loved ones.

Lead photo by

Scott Rogers

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