Massive fireworks display to light up the sky in Saint John
'The biggest in New Brunswick,' says pyro expert in charge of the show
The skies above Saint John are going to come alive Thursday night, as hundreds of explosions will light up the harbour in a celebration of the city's heritage, all thanks to three of its oldest companies.
On Wednesday afternoon, pyrotechnician Peter Graham was struggling to control his glee as preparations for the massive fireworks display were made.
- Saint John missed deadline for early Canada 150 funding: deputy mayor
- Began ... In This Place? Confusion over province's Canada 150 slogan
Lasting more than twenty minutes, the show will be "the biggest in New Brunswick," Graham boasted.
Even after decades in the fireworks business, Graham still hasn't seen it all.
"We've only had them about three years and the ones we're shooting here on Thursday night, I have never personally seen before."
Celebrating 3 iconic Saint John companies
Three Saint John companies are footing the bill for the epic fireworks display.
Moosehead, Source Atlantic, and G.E. Barbour are each 150 years old this year and each chipped in.
"It's a gift to the City of Saint John, the people of Saint John for their support," Graham said. "We want everybody to leave and say, 'Wow.' If we can do that, then we've pushed all the buttons on their chest and we'll feel good."
If the fireworks don't impress people, the finale likely will.
Graham said in that alone, there will be about 2,450 visual impressions.
The fireworks display is scheduled for around 9:30 p.m., and while everything is coming together, it hasn't been easy.
A deadly accident at a Chinese fireworks factory last March has created a worldwide shortage.
The issue has been compounded by a hungry U.S. market, not to mention increased demand for Canada 150 celebrations.
"I've called in a lot of favours," Graham said. "If I didn't know everybody it would be even bigger."
This time Graham has had to get four shipments from two separate suppliers.
Just to add a little last-minute drama, Graham had to work the phones to make sure the final shipment arrived in time.
Stress aside, while overseeing a crew of workers packing sand around firing tubes, Graham still had a smile on his face.
The Thursday night display will finish off with months of careful planning.
"Rain won't stop us" he said with a smile, "hopefully to God, there's no fog."
Organizers are asking spectators to stay well away from the launch area on Long Wharf.
In a safety notification sent out Wednesday evening, they said because of the explosive power of the extra-large shells being used, the show will be halted if spectators get too close to the launch area.
There will be a security perimeter marked by yellow police tape.
Also, anyone wishing to watch the show from a boat in the harbour must stay at least 500 metres away from Long Wharf.