fireworks ban toronto victoria day

People are calling for Toronto to ban fireworks displays on Victoria Day

Fifty million birds are currently flying through the city, an annual avian migration that just happens to coincide with the day Canadians shoot exploding pyrotechnics skyward in a gunpowder-fuelled celebration of colonialism, or something, I guess.

Just hours after official City of Toronto social media accounts cheered on the annual public and private fireworks displays that unfolded across the region on Monday, the Toronto Forestry Twitter account shared details of the current wave of bird migration passing through the city.

"Why are 50 million birds flying through TO right now?" tweeted the city-run account, continuing, "Our city is located where the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways converge. Birds follow ancient migration routes and natural areas on these routes are critical to survival."

The predictable timing of this migration — coinciding with the birthdate of a British monarch who has been dead for more than 120 years — is not lost on environmentalists and animal welfare advocates, many of whom argue that fireworks should be banned in Toronto for the May 2-4 weekend.

The City's own pyrotechnics display over Ashbridge's Bay and Woodbine Beach is of particular concern to some, as it is precisely along the path of migratory birds — several species relying on Lake Ontario and its abundance of fish to fuel their journeys from as far south as the southern tip of South America.

Aside from the obvious risks posed to birds in flight, there are documented cases of birds abandoning nests when faced with the loud percussive bangs of fireworks displays.

Calls for fireworks bans over wildlife concerns are becoming increasingly common. In 2022, activists unsuccessfully fought against Niagara Falls' plan to host 144 consecutive nights of fireworks displays.

Pet owners are also among the voices calling for a fireworks ban in Toronto, and a petition created a few years back seeking the save pets from the night of explodey scaries seems to pop up every spring.

Concerns about public safety are another recurring plotline, as fireworks battles between rowdy teenagers are all too common.

Victoria Day isn't the only holiday celebrated with fireworks in Toronto and the surrounding region, and Diwali celebrations involving pyrotechnics have also been met with calls for bans from a small but vocal group of disgruntled locals.

Lead photo by

Phil Marion

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