Victoria Day fireworks display at Ashbridges Bay cancelled for 2021 due to COVID-19

This photo from Victoria Day of 2019 shows the last public fireworks display held at Ashbridges Bay on Victoria Day. Last year's display, and the one for this year as well, have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Victor Biro.

Residents are reminded that there will not by a City of Toronto fireworks display taking place at Ashbridges Bay on the Victoria Day weekend.

As was the case in 2020, plans for this year’s display were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Traditionally, the display would draw huge crowds to the Beach on the night of the holiday Monday. However, city permits for the event (and also for upcoming local Canada Day events) were pulled much earlier this year to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus by discouraging the gathering of large crowds.

Given that the province is under a stay-at-home order until June 2, there was simply no way that this year’s city fireworks displays could take place.

Residents are also being reminded that setting off of personal fireworks on public property, including local parks and beaches, is not allowed without a permit – of which none have been issued by the city for this year. The fine for lighting fireworks in a public space (defined as a city street, parking lot, park or any private property that is not your own) without a permit is $300 under the city’s parks’ bylaw.

Fireworks displays may still take place on private property, but all provincial and city pandemic guidelines regarding gatherings must be observed.

Under the stay-at-home order, people are not allowed to gather in groups indoors or outdoors with anyone they do not live with, except one other person from outside of the household that lives alone.

Limit close contact to only members of your household (the people you live with). If you live alone, you can have close contact with only one other household.

“Fireworks on private property may only be used without a permit on Victoria Day and Canada Day. To use fireworks on private property any other day of the year you must have a permit from Toronto Fire Services,” said the city on its website.

For those planning fireworks displays on their own property, Toronto Fire Services has issued a number of safety tips:

  • Purchase fireworks from a retailer displaying a city-issued fireworks vendor permit.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s label directions.
  • Before fireworks and sparklers are used, they must be kept out of reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard or drawer.
  • Discharge the fireworks a safe distance from 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. Plant the fireworks directly into the sand to make sure each piece is firmly supported and is aimed straight and away from the audience.
  • Light the fireworks at arm’s length, stand back and keep your face turned away. If a firework fails to ignite, do not attempt to re-light it. Let it sit in the base for 10 to 15 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • The adult igniting the fireworks must wear eye protection and avoid having any part of his or her body over the firework.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Never discharge fireworks in metal or glass containers.
  • Never discharge fireworks indoors.
  • If someone suffers a burn, run cool water over it for a few minutes and consider further treatment.
  • 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.
  • Do not allow sparklers to be used indoors.
  • Children make a great audience but they must never be permitted to light fireworks. Adults are responsible for handling the fireworks while spectators watch the display from a safe distance.
  • One designated adult should ignite the fireworks.
  • Ignited fireworks must never be hand-held.
  • Light only one firework item at a time.
  • 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 before disposing of them in your garbage bin. Fireworks should never go in recycling.

Please stay safe this Victoria Day long weekend.

For more information on fireworks safety, please visit https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/public-safety-alerts/safety-tips-prevention/seasonal-and-holiday-safety/fireworks-safety/


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