#62 – Babel is best at fireworks.

Few cities do as good a job as Babel with celebrations. It adds an especially good effort in fireworks. You always know when the events are over by the fireworks display. Babel is ideally suited to fireworks with its waterfront situated in a valley in the centre of town. People in the condominium towers around the bay feel even more fortunate as they have front-row seating to all the pyrotechnic spectaculars.

An additional treat each year is the double whammy of New Years Eve when a special shorter program is launched earlier in the evening for the children who cannot stay up for the big event at midnight. That is a special consideration for our young families that is really appreciated.

Regrettably, many people were indignant last year when the Wise Men of Babel (our city council) cancelled the fireworks on the long weekend when we were celebrating Queen Victoria’s Birthday. (You need to be a bit older to remember when English-speaking Canadian children sang the ditty: Twenty-fourth of May, the Queen’s birthday, if we don’t get a holiday, we’ll all run away!) It seemed that the Wise Men were being a bit cheap in that regard. It is noted, they appear to have the money for special events: like the Olympic Torch Run.

But maybe Royal Bank paid for these fireworks? One hopes so. As the bank is referred to in its advertising as the ‘enthusiastic’ sponsor of the run, we can only hope it covers all expenses. Why a bank wants to have people run all over the country with over-sized cigarette lighters in promotion of an Olympic event that is probably already sold out, we have yet to fathom. Maybe it is just one of those feel-good things that will make us all more friendly towards the Royal Bank when the Canadian women’s hockey team wins another gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics. It’s a reach but makes sense. Goodness knows, the bank has more than enough profits that it can take the money from petty cash.

The big fireworks event each year in Babel is Canada’s birthday celebration on July 1. There is no dicking around allowed on that day. We go all out. Chairs are lined up on the balcony. No doubt a healthy charge could be levied for those seats but we always give them freely to family and friends (as well as supply booze and small flags to wave). The fireworks are ignited on a barge that moves to a position to best take advantage of any breezes. Most often the barge parks near the Centennial Fountain and all the big dramatic stuff in fiery color bursts right in front of us.

In winter, the lighting of the fireworks is done from the downtown waterfront and our bedroom window affords the warmest (and more intimate) view. We are getting far more than our usual share this week as the Olympic Torch Run came through on Tuesday evening and then Thursday night is New Year’s Eve.

So Happy New Year 2010, everybody.

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