One of Toronto’s Canada Day fireworks displays has been cancelled and another has been postponed after a vendor pulled out at the last minute.
According to the city, the vendor providing the pyrotechnics for Ashbridges Bay Park, Stan Wadlow Park and Milliken Park informed officials on Thursday they “did not intend to fulfill its contractual obligation to perform fireworks displays.”’
“City staff worked throughout the day and into the night to secure new vendors that could perform fireworks at the three locations. Companies across Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and in the U.S. were contacted,” staff said in a news release issued Friday morning.
“The City was able to secure the services of a new vendor to allow the Ashbridges Bay fireworks display to continue this evening. The vendor was also able to commit to a fireworks display on July 2 for Stan Wadlow Park.”
However, officials said the potential vendor for Miliken Park in Scarborough, located near Steeles Avenue and Middlefield Road, confirmed Friday morning they didn’t have the resources for the event. Those fireworks have now been cancelled.
“They just walked away from a contract we had with them,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said at a news conference ahead of the Canada Day parade. “City staff scrambled. They literally spoke with 20 different vendors.”
City officials said they have used the vendor, who they identified as David Whysall International Fireworks Inc., multiple times, including for the Victoria Day weekend. They say that staff were in contact with the company as recently as June 20 to confirm details for the Canada Day fireworks.
“We will, just so everybody knows, certainly hold this vendor responsible for any costs and damages that the city actually ends up incurring as a result of this very last minute notification that they’re not going to live up to their obligations,” city spokesperson Brad Ross told CP24 Friday morning.
Fireworks at Ashbridges Bay Park, Mel Lastman Square and Downsview Park will continue as planned tonight at 10 p.m.
“We do apologize to residents for some of these cancellations and rescheduling, but we’re hopeful that people will be able to enjoy Canada Day weekend, certainly tonight at Ashbridge’s Bay and Mel Lastman’s Square,” Ross said while adding that the city will “make it up to the residents of Scarborough in the near future.”
Ross said he hasn’t seen the fireworks displays planned for Friday night but he remains hopeful it will be a great show.
The city is also reminding residents that fireworks are allowed on private property without a permit until 11 p.m on Canada Day, however they are not allowed to be set off in city parks, beaches, balconies or parking lots.
Tory, for his part, urged residents heading out into the city to watch the firework displays to do so respectfully—making reference to the Victoria Day long weekend in which two people were shot, one person was stabbed, two others were robbed at gunpoint and seven police officers were injured after being struck by multiple fireworks.
“It was a very small group of people, you know hooligans really, on Victoria Day that weekend that ruined it for everyone,” he said. “They engaged in very reckless behaviour, it could have resulted in somebody literally dying because they were shooting fireworks at each other and police officers and there’s just no excuse for that.”
"It's just not the kind of behaviour that we believe in in the City of Toronto."