Old Montreal was BUSTLING last night filled with US tourist on their 4th of July holiday, Jazz Festival goers looking for a pre-concert meal, and even locals strolling the Old Port in anticipation of Korea's contribution to this year's International Firework Competition.
L'International des Feux Loto-Québec was founded in 1985 at La Ronde, Québec's largest amusement park, which was created for Expo '67. From the very first year, La Ronde was filled to capacity and the city of Montréal witnessed unprecedented levels of crowd movement. More than 5.7 million people (spread out over a number of evenings) attended the displays in the first season, setting a record in Canada for this kind of event. As a result of this extraordinary level of success, the Competition was repeated the following year and has been an annual event. In the beginning, the Competition included two types of shows: traditional, so-called "classical" fireworks shows; and pyromusical displays, which involve the careful synchronization of fireworks to a musical score. Since 1987, the displays have been exclusively pyromusical. (http://www.internationaldesfeuxloto-quebec.com/en/a_propos_des_feux/communiques.aspx)
This year there are 10 evenings of fireworks in June, July and August. "Teams" from Austria, China, Canada, the US, South Korea, Italy, and France. You can buy tickets at La Ronde and see everything close up. Or you can do what we did, walk down to the St. Lawrence River with your beach chairs (and a book to read until it gets dark). We watched the fireworks explode above (and below) the Jacques Cartier bridge and listened to the accompanying music blaring from the stereo system of a pleasure boat floating in the waters below us (nice of them to provide the background music). We saw the "team" from South Korea who were responsible for the display at the Seoul Olympics opening ceremony.
Beforehand we ate dinner at Tai Nature (Cuisine Sante Thailandaise - Healthy Thai Cusine) on the corner of ST Laurent and Rue Notre Dame in Old Montreal. Food was good, air conditioning was working, and it wasn't crowded (a blessing on a Saturday night during festival seating). However service was less than attentive...not rude...just non-existent. However, we had a good fish (poisson) stirfry (turbot) and phad thai noodles with shrimp, and a shrimp mango salad.