Business row sparks roar of fireworks in Toronto for Canada Day
Toronto had to cancel and reschedule the Canada Day fireworks after a company it hired to perform the shows pulled out at the last minute, leading to an overnight scramble by staff at the city to save the celebrations.
Fireworks have been canceled at Milliken Park and are rescheduled at Stan Wadlow Park for Saturday July 2.
The changes come after the city was informed Thursday by David Whysall International Fireworks Inc. that it was pulling out of July Day celebrations at Ashbridges Bay Park, Stan Wadlow Park and Milliken Park. The eleventh-hour move has upended plans for this year’s Canada Day fireworks, which are the first to take place since the pandemic began.
The Star has contacted the company and its owner David Whysall for comment, but had no response at the time of publication.
City spokesman Brad Ross told the Star that the business had been used on several occasions, including the Victoria Day weekend fireworks display in Ashbridges Bay. He said the company alerted the city that it would not proceed with the Canada Day shows because it had not been paid $31,000 for the Victoria Day event.
“We do our best to pay our bills within 30 days,” Ross explained. “As soon as it came to our attention, we made that payment. (Thursday) morning, we wired that money directly to him, the $31,000. But it’s still not reasonable to arbitrarily cancel services. In fact, we have a contract and the seller does not have the right to arbitrarily cancel this contract, to terminate the contract, certainly not with 24 hours’ notice.
“We will hold this supplier responsible for all costs we incur as a result of this breach of contract. We paid that bill. And he informed us that he would not meet his contractual obligations to perform the fireworks on (Friday) evening.
Ross said the fireworks display originally planned for the three parks was worth around $65,000. He did not know what the new supplier would charge.
On Thursday, city staff worked through the night to find a replacement, contacting fireworks companies in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and the United States. Celebration Fireworks, based in Orono, Ontario, will perform the Friday night show at Ashbridges Bay Park (1561 Lake Shore Blvd. E) and the Saturday night show at Stan Wadlow Park (373 Cedarvale Ave). No seller could be found for Milliken Park.
Friday night there will also be fireworks at Mel Lastman Square (5100 Yonge St) and Downsview Park (70 Canuck Ave).
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