Canada Day, fireworks and environmentally friendly alternatives

Rosie Sabbagh • Posted: 02-07-2023

Canada Day is a celebration which commemorates the anniversary of its nation and government. An occasion where Canadians gather to express themselves and their love for the country, watching live cultural performances, hosting parties, making food, going to festivals and watching fireworks.

As we celebrate Canada’s 156th anniversary, considering the recent events of forest fires, humidity, and pollution seen throughout the month, it is important to be mindful of the environment when celebrating. With that being said, how can we entertain and have fun on holidays, while still taking all that into account? Some ways include reducing waste and using fewer fireworks or more eco-friendly alternatives. 

A smoky view of the Parliament caused by forest fires and air pollution. Gracia-Tremblay M. (2023) Copyright © 2023

According to Jacobo (2022), “Household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, according to Stanford University’s Waste Reduction, Recycling, Composting and Solid Waste Program.” While the holidays mainly revolve around buying and eating lots of food, we can make an impact by throwing away less plastic and more sustainable material. Many Canadians buy specific accessories to go along with the Canada Day theme, which a lot of the time consists of plastic and are thrown away a day later. People also buy plastic utensils and plates, but as many big companies are doing, changing from plastic to paper can help reduce plastic waste, creating a more eco-friendly environment. 

As we continue to celebrate Canada Day this year, some locations in Ottawa, such as Lebreton Flats, Petrie Island, sittsville, among other areas, resumed their usual fireworks extravaganza that usually lasts between 10 and 20 minutes displaying beautiful colors and images in the sky. In addition, other Ottawa locations have cancelled their fireworks due to stormy and smoky weather, such as Kanata and Beacon Hill, as Pringle J. (2023) explains.

As wonderful as fireworks are, they can be very harmful to the air, leading to pollution, and with the forest fires smoke making its way through many cities, it would risk creating more forest fires. As Wendling (2023) explains, “Officials are not only worried about the explosives making bad air quality worse, but also potentially setting off further fires”. The city’s cancellation of fireworks does not however mean that all fireworks are canceled. With that being said, and taking into consideration the latest events of poor air quality seen in Ottawa, as well as many other cities, there are other ways to celebrate without fireworks and their harmful chemicals. Although not as enjoyable, the use of glow sticks, lasers, drones, and outdoor projectors can be a safer alternative. 

Drones were used as an alternative to fireworks during the celebration of the Summer Solstice at Mādahòkì Farm. Source: Nolan B. (June 21st) Copyright © June 21st

Canada Day is a holiday that we can all enjoy and celebrate, being surrounded by the people we love and expressing our gratitude for our country. That same country however is under immense struggles, as forest fires, poor air quality and elevated levels of air pollution continue to persist throughout. As we continue to not only celebrate Canada Day but all other holidays throughout the years, it is important to acknowledge and be aware of other ways we can have fun, while not harming our environment any further. Many ways of being sustainable include switching from plastic to paper and reducing the use of fireworks, to drones.




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Jacobo, J. (2022, November 23). Hidden ways the holidays harm the environment and how you can reduce the waste. ABC News. Retrieved July 1, 2023, from

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Will Ottawa’s entire summer be smoky? Meteorologist says it’s not likely. (2023, June 27). CBC. Retrieved July 1, 2023, from


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