Dear Mr. Editor,
This July 1, I had the opportunity to view an amazing spectacle of fireworks from a prime location. In my opinion, I have never experienced a better display than was offered for public viewing this year.
I had no idea what was involved in setting up this event.
I have been attending the fireworks display for many years and always was under the impression that it was handled by the fire department and town crew. Only recently, I was amazed to discover that this was not the case; it is handled strictly by volunteers.
For the past several years, under the leadership of Charlie Turgeon, the Caul family (Stephen, Bill, Mary, and June), the Larocque family (Leonard, Betty Anne, and Shannon), as well as Turgeon, have been doing the bulwark of this event. For the past two years, they have been assisted by Gordie Galbraith, Dave Coats, and Stan Zajac.
The Town of Fort Frances provides the sand which is used in the boxes to hold the fireworks while Ken Munn uses his Bobcat to spread the sand before and after the fireworks.
The crew is also very grateful for the support of the OPP and CN police.
I was curious about Charlie’s expertise, so I asked him how he became qualified for such an amazing undertaking. He told me his qualifications are based on the number of firings. He is a Level 2, Fireworks Supervisor, in excess of 25 years.
I had no idea what kind of training was required. And I’m amazed we have the level of training in our small community—and very few people are aware of it.
They get the plans for the fireworks from the provider, Big Bang of Calgary, and then three days prior to the event, they begin the preparation. This includes placing and numbering the mortars, which are extremely heavy (some weighing as much as 100 pounds).
On the day of the show, the explosives have to be loaded into the mortars, wired into the control panels, and checked as many as three times. Each candle is wired individually and the field truly looks like spaghetti with all the wire criss-crossing.
It is an amazing sight to behold!
Each candle is covered in aluminum foil and taped to prevent cross-firing. When a particular firework is released, there is no chance of a spark igniting the one right beside it. Amazing safely precautions are taken.
Then, upon completion of the wiring, the team all sticks around until dark to ensure no one comes near the fireworks. The last day sees them on site for about 15 hours.
Who would have guessed there is that much involved in the fireworks?
After the display has taken place, the team then goes and inspects the fireworks to ensure there are none still ignited and lying dormant.
The following day, they return to clean up the mess, load the equipment on a flatbed, and then proceed to the Public Works building at Pither’s Point, where it is once again unloaded and stored until next year.
So you can see this is no small operation. This team of volunteers is dedicated and deserves tremendous accolades for their many hours of service to our community year after year.
It computes to 17 hours of work time for a 14-minute show, and this does not include any waiting time.
I personally wish to thank “the team” for providing our area with an amazing display of fireworks to celebrate Canada Day. You deserve to be recognized and admired for all your efforts!
Fort Frances, Ont.
Dear Mr. Editor,