Fans of Montreal’s International Fireworks Competition are fearing this year’s 30th edition could be its last at La Ronde.
Robert Poëti, Quebec’s minister of transport and the minister responsible for Montreal, said the inevitable closure of the Jacques Cartier Bridge that the popular summertime event requires is a burden on other bridges and complicates their repair schedules.
“The Minister is reviewing the file for future editions considering the scale of investments and major projects coming up, including bridges," Poeti’s office said in a statement to CBC Radio’s Daybreak.
The idea of moving the competition from its home at La Ronde, situated next to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, has at least one Montrealer questioning the wisdom of doing so.
Paul Marriott, a licenced pyrotechnician who runs a website dedicated to Montreal’s International Fireworks Competition, says La Ronde is the only logical home for the event.
“It’s not really feasible to move that somewhere else. It was built as a firing site for Expo 67 and has been designed for fireworks from the ground up ever since,” he told Daybreak guest host Ainslie Maclellan.
“It’s like you’re holding the Olympics but you’re not going to hold it at the Olympic Stadium,” he said.
The La Ronde site has stadium seating for 8,000 for the competition. The website for Parc Jean-Drapeau, where La Ronde is located, says the event draws nearly three million spectators a year.
Marriott said the bridge closure is necessary mainly for driver safety, given the potential distraction of exploding fireworks overhead.
He said the three hour closure over six Saturday nights in the summer is a small price to pay for playing host to the world’s premier fireworks competition.
“And the best place to see it from is at La Ronde,” Marriott said.