Posted on May 27th, 2011 by .

What do carbon, chlorine, iron, antimony and Montreal have in common? They are all essential compounds in creating one incredible, awe-inspiring fireworks show. Luckily for Montreal this show is one that lasts all summer long: L’International des Feux Loto-Quebec (Montreal International Fireworks Competition)! So set your sights to the skies starting June 25th and watch the pretty science explosions!

The fireworks competition blasts off Saturday, June 25 and will continue every Saturday and Wednesday (first Wednesday is July 13) until July 30. The show usually starts around 10 PM, rain or shine. How does the competition work? Well one fireworks company from each of the competing countries design and produce a fireworks show centred around a chosen theme. The theme is usually tied in with the music that broadcasts over the radio or into the paid grandstand audience. For example this year when the United States has their fireworks show, the theme is “Wizard of Oz”. I think we can expect homage’s to the yellow brick road, the emerald city, and of course… the ruby red slippers! A pre-selected jury of around 19 people will vote out of 10 what they give the show that night. At the end, the winner takes the crown of Fireworks King!

Every Montrealer has their own opinion of the best vantage point to experience the fireworks. As a seasoned fireworks fanatic, I always go early with a blanket and get right up close to the water underneath the Jacques Cartier bridge. It gets crowded, so I really do get there at least an hour early. The closer you get to the water, the better. Some people like the side view from the Old Port, and some people like to trek up the Jacques Cartier bridge! The Jacques Cartier bridge closes down to cars during the hour during the fireworks show, but I personally think it’s a bit of a hassle to walk up onto it. The view from the ground is just as good.

However, if you can get tickets to see the fireworks show from the grandstand inside La Ronde, DO IT! I’ve only bought tickets to see the grandstand show once, and it was absolutely incredible. It’s like seeing fireworks in high definition IMAX. They literally explode at your face directly in front of you. You can hear the music over the speakers, and the details that go into the show. It was really breathtaking! I suggest doing that at least once during the summer.

If you go see the fireworks from underneath the Jacques Cartier bridge, skip the craziness that Papineau metro becomes after they are done and walk down Montreal’s famous Aires Libres! This is when they close down Saint Catherine in the Village, and restaurants, bars, and coffee shops set out patios. What a great way to end the night! Fireworks and then beer on a hot summer night? Sounds pretty sexy-awesome.

Every year the finale is a tribute using the music of a famous artist. Two years ago, it was the music of the late Michael Jackson, last year was the Quebecois superstar Celine Dion, and this year will be… drumroll… THE BEATLES TRIBUTE! This finale event is a non-competing one, and is always an incredible audio and visual journey. I hope they do some big pretty sparklers to “Hey Jude”.

Seriously, how can anybody say no to fireworks?


June 25: China (Kung-fu)

July 2: Czech Republic (The Flower Duet)

July 9: England (Stars of the World)

July 13: Italy (Angels and Demons)

July 16: Australia (The colours of Kakadu)

July 20: United States (Wizard of Oz)

July 23: Canada (Eros & Psyche)

July 27: France (Maudits Francais)

July 30: The Beatles Tribute

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