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Fireworks sales keep soaring

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Even though The Forks has scrapped its popular Canada Day fireworks display, the industry is burning hot.

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Even though The Forks has scrapped its popular Canada Day fireworks display, the industry is burning hot.

Winnipeg-based fireworks sellers told the Free Press business is booming.

“We’re sad to see The Forks not among our customers, but we understand, and there’s no ill will there,” said Archangel Fireworks consumer sales manager Mathieu Godin.

Archangel Fireworks at 104 Pembina Hwy. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

“We’ve done that show for years, but as a company, it’s not like we’re caught with our tail between our legs. We’re still very busy,”

Besides, Godin said, there are plenty of shows slated for Canada Day.

“I get lots of calls: ‘Why not The Forks, I can’t see fireworks?’ — I’m like, ‘Oh no, there’s tons: St. Norbert, Selkirk, East St. Paul.’ City proper might not be having any, but all the small communities around are doing stuff (on July 1),” he said.

The cost of a large fireworks show comparable to that of the annual celebration in downtown Winnipeg was not available.

Assiniboia Downs will have a fireworks show as well as a festival on Canada Day, while Brandon, Lac du Bonnet, Portage la Prairie, Minnedosa and a slew of other rural communities also have fireworks slated for the holiday.

The owner of Big Top Fireworks, a Winnipeg professional display fireworks wholesaler, said the company has been “really busy” ahead of July 1, though he would not reveal sales figures.

“Probably as busy as ever,” Craig Henderson said. “We’ve been shipping fireworks across Canada as fast as we can go for the past two months.”

He was pointed when asked about The Forks’ decision to cancel its long-standing Canada Day fireworks show.

“I don’t think Indigenous people are asking anybody to cancel their fireworks shows, they’re just cancelling some of their own, because why would you celebrate a country that kidnapped your children?” Henderson said.

He said he thinks Indigenous communities have every right to cancel or rename July 1 celebrations.

Sales have been great throughout most of the pandemic, Godin said — not just for his store, but in the industry as a whole, so much so that suppliers had trouble meeting demand.

“Suppliers had a really hard time keeping up, then you attach onto that everything that happened with import/export and COVID costs. I don’t think China could pump out fireworks fast enough to cope with the high demand in consumer products,” he said.

The majority of fireworks sold across the globe are manufactured in China.

“At one point, just trying to order anything was like — you could send in a list with 100 items I want to bring in, they’d come back with ‘Here’s five.’”

Godin noted the industry has been faced with increasing costs due to inflation and supply-chain disruptions, while Archangel Fireworks has a lack of staff.

erik.pindera@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @erik_pindera

Erik Pindera

Erik Pindera
Reporter

Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.

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