Fireworks in Cornwall were delayed by barge fighting river current

(Newswatch Group/File)

CORNWALL – The power of the mighty St. Lawrence River, running at its peak, is blamed for delaying Cornwall’s Canada Day fireworks display.

The pyrotechnic show was scheduled to start at 10 p.m. last night (Monday) but ended up not going until just after 11 p.m.

In an interview with Cornwall Newswatch, Canada Day committee member Adrian Bugelli said they had been monitoring water levels and the current in the weeks leading up to Canada Day before the barge was loaded up on Boundary Road “first thing in the morning (Monday)” to make the five kilometer journey up the river.

“Unfortunately, with the current, they were a good, close to three hours, to try to get up the river there. They had some help from the RCMP from boats and Akwesasne and they finally got up to the Civic Complex. There were a couple of spots where they were literally stopped and had to call in an extra boat to get over a patch,” Bugelli said.

Bugelli said it’s been years since fireworks were set off a barge but “never when the St. Lawrence has been at the speed that it’s been now.”

Asked whether Cornwall Island would have been an alternative, Bugelli said fireworks have been done on the island before but the distance requires “very expensive” higher caliber shells to make it a worthwhile show.

“The show itself, for those that stayed…and a lot did stay…was spectacular..unbelievable. Hands Fireworks did a fantastic job and it wasn’t on them at all. They did everything they could,” he said.

Bugelli says it’s a “live and learn” experience and, while they can’t predict water levels, but will try to work with the barge company to hit the water upstream and come down if there’s a strong current.

Overall, Bugelli says the Canada Day festivities were great and they saw “the most people were at the park that we’ve seen in close to 10 years. Nothing but positive comments.”

“It was really, really good.”