On Saturday, June 22, the 2013 Montreal Fireworks Festival burst into life across the city’s night skies. Running every week until August 3, this international fireworks competition features eight international companies showcasing their country’s best fireworks display in the hopes of winning a gold, silver, or bronze Jupiter trophy.
Competing countries include Australia, Canada, China, Croatia, England, Italy, Spain, and the United States, with each entry centred on a theme. This year’s themes include “Born to be Wild” by China and “Artificial Intelligence” by Croatia.
The Montreal Fireworks Festival is the largest international fireworks competition in the world and has been held every year since 1985. Initially, the shows were simply displays of the latest and best pyrotechnics available. Early on, however, a musical twist was added. Today the competition is both a showcase for cutting edge fireworks and an artfully choreographed musical production. Each half hour piece is set to fitting music, the feeling of the fireworks evolving with the sounds.
Over the years, the competition’s prestige has grown and companies now vie for the honor of representing their home countries. All continents except for Antarctica have been represented at some point in the last 28 years.
The competition takes place at the La Ronde amusement park, with reserved seating available for the best possible viewing. Tickets are $43-$63, depending on your seating section (Gold, Silver, or Bronze) and your height. Instead of children’s tickets, the competition offers cheaper seats for anyone under 54 inches.
The shows can also be watched for free from the surrounding areas. The music accompanying each show is broadcast synchronously over the radio so that viewers outside La Ronde can still enjoy the complete experience. One favorite locals’ spot is the Jacques Cartier Bridge, which is closed to vehicles for the events each night. Other options include the Old Port of Montreal and Longueuil directly across the Saint Lawrence River. Italian pyrotechnic company Panzera SAS will present the finale, which will be set to the music of U2 in a flashy tribute to the band.