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Back with a bang! Calgary will have Canada Day fireworks

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It looks like Calgary will have Canada Day fireworks after all.

After announcing plans to nix the annual display in favour of "an enhanced pyrotechnic show," the City of Calgary abruptly reversed its decision, now saying there will, in fact, be fireworks.

The city announced in a May 18 news release that instead of the typical large-scale Canada Day fireworks, it would pilot a new "visually stunning display of lights and sounds" at Fort Calgary.

Officials cited cultural sensitivities around fireworks displays in relation to Truth and Reconciliation, and noted that July 1 also marks the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Immigration Act.

The decision to cancel the fireworks wasn't made by city councillors, but by the City of Calgary's arts and culture department.

Many protested the change, including Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean and Calgary Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who implored the city to reverse the decision.

An online petition was also created by Common Sense Calgary, which, as of May 25, had more than 12,000 signatures.

Ten Calgary councillors even signed a notice of motion pushing for the city administration to include an aerial fireworks display as part of Calgary's 2023 Canada Day celebrations, provided it could be achieved within existing budgets.

"We had some questions, the other day, for city manager David Duckworth on why the fireworks were cancelled," said Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp. "Most of us still weren't satisfied with the answers.

"So yesterday, a couple councillors and I got together and wrote a notice of motion last night, submitted it this morning, and hoped to see those fireworks reinstated.

"It looks like since that motion has surfaced … They will be reinstating the fireworks."

On Thursday, the City of Calgary announced it would add a fireworks display back to its Canada Day celebrations.

“We have heard from many Calgarians as well as members of city council that while the pilot program is valued, they would also appreciate an aerial fireworks display to celebrate on July 1," Duckworth said in a news release.

"We are working with partners to confirm an appropriate site and will share details as they become available."

Officials say there are still other considerations to take into account, such as concerns about late-night traffic, noise, over-crowding, wildlife, and the environment, which will all be factored into the decision on where to have the fireworks.

"Plans to feature an enhanced pyrotechnic show at Fort Calgary will move forward, including a display of lights and sounds that will be launched from the main stage at Fort Calgary during the headliner act," said a news release.

Sharp says the notice of motion will still be discussed by city council next week to see if any other conversations need to be had.

Duckworth says the cost of an aerial fireworks display is "around $150,000."

'PRETTY STOKED'

McLean says he thinks the majority of Calgarians are "pretty stoked" to be getting the fireworks back.

He added that he had heard people saying they planned to set off their own fireworks if the city wouldn't have any.

"And we don't want that," he added.

McLean believes the wholesituation was an "oversight" on the part of city administrators.

"They didn't maybe think this one through."

Kristy Koehler from Common Sense Calgary says the group is "very, very pleased" to hear the fireworks are back.

"I think Calgarians are really excited about this, too.

"This is just a testament to what happens when you force your elected officials to listen to the things that you want."

For more information on Calgary's Canada Day celebrations, you can visit the City of Calgary's website.

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