On July 30 the Montreal International Fireworks Competition came to a close with a Tribute to Elton John. In keeping with the theme of "Montreal from my balcony," I videotaped the last 11 or so minutes of it, with the accompanying music on 105.7 FM playing inside my apartment. I think it sounds kind of authentic this way.
This one was shot from the intersection of De Lorimier and Notre Dame, near the Jacques Cartier Bridge. It's a popular spot, and easy to reach. There are always lots of kids there.
The fireworks and other nearby public entertainments provide a nice backdrop to a neighbourly get-together on the balcony. One mild summer evening in July, 2011, my neighbour and I chatted while the sounds of a U2 concert wafted our way from the Hippodrome (also known as Blue Bonnets Racetrack), now closed and gone to ruin. On holidays, like La fête nationale (June 23-24) and Canada Day (July 1), we sometimes watch an array of fireworks scattered across the horizon, as each municipality celebrates with its own display.
For the "real" fireworks experience, though, many people go to La Ronde. This is the view you get there—along with a shower of still-hot cinders. One year I sat in the VIP section reserved for members of the municipal government and their guests. I didn't enjoy the fireworks as much as I should have because of the fallout. The other negative is that you're looking up at them—and maybe getting a cinder in your eye. I found it all a bit overwhelming.
I think it must be fun to watch the fireworks from a helicopter. There are always a couple of helicopters circling in the sky over La Ronde during the fireworks displays, and I can just imagine the oohing and aahing in those cabins. I've watched the fireworks in Montreal from several different vantage points over the years. Each one has its own special qualities.
Maybe next year I'll review all the recommended spots. (If someone offers me a free helicopter ride to watch the fireworks, I'm totally open to that.) For my balcony view, I'll invest in a telephoto lens and see if I can pull some strings to get those pesky high-rise office buildings (especially Tour McGill) removed so they won't obstruct my view. Some people actually think they have that kind of pull. I knew a man who lived in a couple of cubes at Habitat 67, who told me he had phoned Paul Martin (then President and CEO of Canada Steamship Lines and later Prime Minister of Canada) to complain that one of CSL's ships was blocking his view of the Montreal skyline. I hope PM said, "Here, I'll throw you the keys. You move it."
If you want to know who won the Jupiter Awards at the 32nd season of the Montreal International Fireworks Competition, look here. And if you're a real fireworks aficionado/a, here's a Glossary of Pyrotechnic Terms.
And so, summer meanders along, taking me with it.