L’International des Feux Loto-Québec

Montreal has hosted a sort of Olympics of pyrotechnics since 1985.  Saturday nights in June and July, one country picks its best fireworks artists to put on a 30-minute display from La Ronde, the amusement park on the old Expo ’67 island.  You can pay–a lot–to sit on the island, but they also shut down the Pont Jacques-Cartier to traffic and let the riff-raff walk across it.  So–for free–you can stand on the bridge and watch the fireworks go up from beneath you.

It’s a weekend, so I’ll leave aside any deep thoughts about the urban spectacle and simply report that last night the hometown team–Fireworks Spectaculars–put on a pretty great show.  K’s semi-time-lapse photo, above, doesn’t quite do it justice.  The finale was a good seven minutes of non-stop kabooms going off ten or twelve at a time.  And seeing it with a few thousand locals, from the top of a pretty great steel cantilever bridge, was awesome.  All of the teams set their displays to music (which the police cars rolling back and forth across the bridge helpfully blasted out of their radios), so there’s a real rhythm and art to the timing–this is not your typical 4th of July, set ’em all off kind of thing.  Montreal does festivals really well, and with winters like they have here you can understand why they take summer seriously.

Most telling was the line of cars waiting patiently on the on-ramp for the crowds to disperse so they could get across…

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