fireworks victoria day

People got stupid with fireworks all over Toronto on Victoria Day

Ah, fireworks: So loud, so pretty, so... loud. So, so loud.

Toronto residents are once again debating the merits of making it legal for people to play with colourful explosives on Victoria Day after waking up, grumpy from a lack of sleep, to find firework debris scattered across the city.

While the City of Toronto does allow people to set off fireworks without a permit on May 2-4 weekend and Canada Day, much of the behaviour witnessed over the long weekend was anything but legal.

First of all, the rules stipulate that you can only set off family fireworks on private property. Setting off fireworks in city parks, streets or anywhere else can land you with a $300 fine. 

That didn't stop thousands of people (according to a Toronto police estimate) from gathering in large parks all over the city last night to watch the skies explode with light.

The fact that all of Ontario remains under a stay-at-home order amid the COVID-19 pandemic until at least June 2 was not lost on critics.

"There are currently at least a couple hundred people crowded together watching fireworks in Toronto's Withrow Park," wrote one local on Twitter last night.

"This is not how one reduces transmission of #COVID19."

There's also the fact that fireworks are allowed on Victoria Day only — not for three or four nights preceding the actual holiday, which this year fell on May 24.

"3rd night in a row (the first 2 against the rules, of course) of non stop #fireworks in #toronto til all hours of the morning," complained one resident.

"People have work and need to sleep, pets are terrified, and there's debris left everywhere. Time to ban these things."

While we're used to fireworks going off sporadically in Toronto over the summer, many people noted that this past weekend felt excessive.

Even police were bombarded, reporting a "high volume of calls" as fireworks boomed and banged late into the night.

Whether the result of people letting out pent-up energy after more than a year of living in lockdown or something else entirely, there were more individual fireworks shows around the city this weekend than Toronto had seen for some time, if ever.

The noise was noticeable near and far, annoying many people who were trying to sleep, not to mention their pets and local widlife.

"God, Toronto, shut up with the fireworks. It's annoying and it freaks out my cat. Three nights in a row!" wrote one local on Twitter.

"Someone just set off fireworks on Toronto Street. 4:58 a.m.," wrote another early Monday morning. "Real classy."

And then there were the people who made things dangerous, shooting fireworks at each other and all over the place at beaches and parks.

This behaviour is not unheard of in Toronto, especially among rambunctious youths, but illegal fireworks in general have become more of a problem than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit.

Last summer saw some 172 illegal fireworks-related incidents across the city, up from just 81 the year previous.

Lead photo by

alleyesoff


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