This is why you should be excited for Niagara Falls' new fireworks competition

Nov 5 2018, 7:48 pm

There is not a single place in the world outside of a Disney theme park that stages firework shows more frequently than Niagara Falls, Canada.

Earlier this year, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Falls Fireworks Series, Niagara Parks staged 111 fireworks displays throughout May to October, including daily shows throughout the peak summer months.

And it is about to get even better with the introduction of a brand new fireworks competition staged by the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

The 2018 Cascades of Fire: International Fireworks Competition (CFIFC) kicks off this weekend, with nightly shows on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from November 9 to November 18. A total of six shows, each staged by a different top international pyrotechnics company, representing their respective countries, will mark the inaugural year of the fireworks competition.

Each free show starting at 9 pm will be synchronized to music, with radio station Star 102.5 FM broadcasting the corresponding music with each display.

With the stunningly scenic backdrop of the falls, which are fully illuminated at night, there is no question that the fireworks competition this month has the makings of becoming one of the world’s top fireworks competitions.

These competition-calibre fireworks shows promise to be much more spectacular than the normal fireworks shows this winter season.

Niagara Falls fireworks

Fireworks at Niagara Falls. (Shutterstock)

During this season’s Niagara Falls’ Winter Festival of Lights Winter Fireworks Series, approximately 500 shots of explosive are normally fired during each of the 22 shows, with the fireworks reaching between 300 ft and 600 ft in the night sky and exploding to a width of 100 ft. Each show will be about four minutes.

In contrast, the CFIFC will feature over 5,000 shots, with fireworks ranging from 150 ft to 1,200 ft high and 1,500 ft wide. Each show will be 18 minutes in length.

“We have got some of the best pyrotechnic displays from around the world going head-to-head to be crowned the inaugural Champion,” Tina Myers, the Executive Director of Cascades of Fire, told Daily Hive. “We know they’re going to give it their all and create an amazing show for people to enjoy.”

For instance, Team Brazil (Sunday, November 11), represented by Fireworks do Brasil, has a background that includes staging the in-stadium fireworks for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2007 Rio de Janeiro Pan American Games and the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks shows at Copacabana Beach.∂

Representing Team China (Friday, November 9) will be Celebration Fireworks, based in Liuyang, China, which has created a Guinness Record for fireworks shapes and provided the fireworks for the harbour fireworks shows during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Other shows will be staged by Pyroman Finland (Team Finland; Saturday, November 10), Da Nang (Team Vietnam; Friday, November 16), Industry Pagano Ottaviano Naples (Team Italy; Saturday, November 17), and David Whysall International Fireworks (Team Canada; Sunday, November 18).

All six teams have won awards from fireworks competitions around the world over the years.

Niagara Falls fireworks

Fireworks over Niagara Falls. (Shutterstock)

For Niagara Falls’ tourism-oriented economy, CFIFC provides the destination and its businesses with a major draw during what is normally a slower time of the year for tourism.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to watch the fireworks shows from the edge of the falls and the surrounding hotel properties.

“We’re really looking forward to launching the largest fireworks competition in Ontario,” continued Myers. “The goal of the competition is to create a new signature event for our city. It really will be a whole new spectacle the likes of which Niagara has never seen.”

Greg Bechkos with Hornblower Niagara Cruises, the official boat operator of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and a sponsor of the event, added that this will be “the region’s top winter event.”

“An event like this brings the community together and it’s a fantastic way to showcase our beautiful city in the winter months. We appreciate the vision and commitment of all parties involved in organizing this International Fireworks Competition. We are very pleased to associate our Hornblower Niagara Cruises brand with Cascades of Fire.”

CFIFC provides the Golden Horseshoe area with a fireworks competition and the region’s first fireworks competition since 2011 when the annual Canada Dry Festival of Fire at Ontario Place in downtown Toronto was cancelled.

The Festival of Fire, formerly known as the Benson & Hedges Symphony of Fire, a sister event of Vancouver’s ongoing Celebration of Light, occurred during the summer over three nights, with each show lasting about 25 minutes.

Ottawa also has its five-night Tim Hortons Casino Lac-Leamy Sound of Light fireworks competition, which entails four country nights and one grand finale night.

The largest fireworks event in the country, and one of the world’s most renowned, is the annual Montreal International Fireworks Competition, held at Six Flags’ La Ronde amusement park just outside of downtown Montreal.

Quebec City also has an annual summertime fireworks festival, but it is a themed event and not a fireworks competition.

How Canada’s fireworks competitions compare:

Vancouver: Honda Celebration of Light

  • Location: English Bay, downtown Vancouver
  • Inaugural year: 1990
  • Time of year of staging: summer
  • Number of nights: three nights (four nights until 2010)
  • Fireworks duration per night: 25 minutes
  • Cumulative annual attendance: 1+ million
  • Type of event: Free

Vancouver Celebration of Light. (Colin Knowles / Flickr)

Calgary: Global Fest

  • Location: Elliston Park, Calgary
  • Inaugural year: 2003
  • Time of year of staging: summer
  • Number of nights: six nights (inaugural year had three nights)
  • Fireworks duration per night: 22 minutes
  • Cumulative annual attendance: ~100,000
  • Type of event: ticketed

Calgary Global Fest Fireworks. (Globalfest / Facebook)

Ottawa: Tim Hortons Casino Lac-Leamy Sound of Light

  • Location: Ottawa River, downtown Ottawa/Gatineau (between Parliament Hill and Canadian Museum of History)
  • Inaugural year: 1996
  • Time of year of staging: summer
  • Number of nights: five nights
  • Fireworks duration per night: 30 minutes
  • Cumulative annual attendance: ~100,000
  • Type of event: Free

Ottawa fireworks. (Lianne Short / Flickr)

Montreal: Tim Hortons L’International des Feux Loto‑Québec (Montreal International Fireworks Competition)

  • Location: La Ronde, downtown Montreal
  • Inaugural year: 1985
  • Time of year of staging: summer
  • Number of nights: eight nights
  • Fireworks duration per night: 30 minutes
  • Cumulative annual attendance: three million
  • Type of event: ticketed/free
fireworks montreal

Montreal International Fireworks Competition at La Ronde. (Shutterstock)

Niagara Falls: Cascades of Fire

  • Location: Niagara Falls
  • Inaugural year: 2018
  • Time of year of staging: fall
  • Number of nights: six nights
  • Fireworks duration per night: 18 minutes
  • Cumulative annual attendance: unknown
  • Type of event: free
fireworks

Fireworks in Niagara Falls. (Lou Pet / YouTube)

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