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Fireworks in Oakville

May 31st, 2023 · 8 Comments · Real-life Adventure Tales

Fireworks in Oakville


The Day Florida Moved to Canada




What a riot we had last weekend in Oakville!

A buncha teenagers came to my little harbourfront neighbourhood cuz it has a corner Variety store that’ll sell anything to anybody including fireworks to kids.  We had a little to-do here a couple years ago on Canada Day (July 1st) when the same thing happened — a buncha kids gathered outside the 7-11 & McDonalds and were settin off fireworks and having a rowdy time of it.

My home office window looks out on this very street behind my house, and when it started (two years ago) I went out and got right in the middle of it as I usually do and hung with the kids and got transported back to my own youth in Winnipeg in the ’70s.

One of my takeaways was how multi-racial the collective was — from Swedish white to Kenyan black — and how everybody got along so naturally.  There were a few rabble-rousers, like there were in my teenage gangs, but in the main they were all nice friendly open-minded kids just out for sumpthin to do on a summer holiday night.

When the crowd dispersed and I got home I was stunned to read on this local Facebook group all these old people just railing against these kids — even though not one single one of them spent one single minute with any of them.

This year, around 9PM on the Victoria Day holiday (May 22nd), I heard fireworks starting up from around the same location, so I headed out my door and was in the middle of it 90 seconds later.  The crowd was 3 or 4 times the size of the last one — maybe 200-300 kids — but this time they were armed with a bunch of M-80-type explosives — not so much the “fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars” as Kerouac famously described the light-up-the-sky kind.

This time the cops were there waitin for ’em from before it started and when one kid allegedly shot a bottle rocket in their general direction they moved in and arrested him, and began a general dispersion maneuver shooshing the kids along the road.

What was so funny to my American eyes was how polite both the cops and the kids were.  There were no billy clubs being swung or rocks being thrown — it was just a bunch of cops politely telling a bunch of kids to move along . . . and the kids moving along.  No shop windows were broken, no epithets hurled, no anger, just a buncha kids being shooshed along the sidewalk on a holiday weekend in the summer.  It was so Canadian.

While I was out there with them, surfing the wave as it rolled down the road, I thought about that neighbourhood Facebook group and figured they’d be up in arms about this like they were last time, and when I got home after the neighbourhood was cleared by 10:30 — boy they did not disappoint!  Literally hundreds of comments from people who’d never set foot outside of their house just shitting on these kids . . . and all their parents!  It was the most despicable behavior I’ve seen ’round these parts since, well, probably those anti-science yahoos tried to take over Ottawa a year ago.  And of course I don’t mean it was the kids who were despicable — I mean how mean these holier-than-thou Facebook warriors were being towards the kids & their parents in their own community . . . without having spent so much as a split-second with any of them.

It was a non-event for the police.  They issued one short statement about a disruption in Bronte resulting in one arrest and no property damage or injuries to anyone — but the way these old bitties on Facebook were raging you’d think it was the Watts riots!

I’m really pro Canada and quite fond of the people who live here.  We all treat each other with respect and politeness — just as I’d seen the police treat the kids and the kids treat the police — until I got home and saw this firehose of hatred from uninformed people hiding behind their doors & keyboards yelling “Get off my lawn” in the most ugly vitriolic way.

It was so striking that these adults — who thought they were so superior to everyone else — would behave so disparagingly towards these kids who were a thousand times more polite and less judgmental than this self-appointed judge-and-jury who were convicting them.

I sure hope as a species we can stop hurling hate at one another . . . and maybe go out of our houses and engage with people we don’t know about.   💖



You may also enjoy The Spilled Coffee Test.

Or The Shakespeare’s Globe Theater Adventure.

Or The Pawtucketville Social Club Kerouac Story.

Or The Phil Lesh Story.


by Brian Hassett   —

Or here’s my Facebook page if you wanna join in there —

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 William Hodgson // May 31, 2023 at 12:13 PM

    Right on! Power to the kids! I used to think that old greedheads would eventually die off and things would just get better but it seems they just get replaced by more of the same. It’s a sad side of human nature that we occasionally turn into what was once our enemy. I liked this piece and it made me feel young.

  • 2 Dale Topham // Jun 1, 2023 at 1:15 PM

    Great piece, but scary correct about the rake waving old folks on social media. Hard to know what to do about this cuz it seems totally useless to engage them. You can not change their minds!

  • 3 Brian Hassett // Jun 1, 2023 at 4:27 PM

    Yeah, Dale — it’s a sad know-it-all-ism that could have been fixed in this case by just walking out their front door.
    But for some folks, bitching into their computers/phones is a way of validating their hatred towards the world for not turning out like their fantasies.

  • 4 Therese Brabant // Jun 2, 2023 at 6:23 AM

    There’s so much fear driving their acerbic comments…

  • 5 Duncan Leach // Jun 2, 2023 at 3:26 PM

    Thanks. The story, as served up on FB, made it sound like an all out riot, which seemed so un-Canadian (to maintain stereotypes). Instead of going after the kids and parents, it seems maybe the store owners could be looked into for “selling anything to anyone”, as you put it. Good on ya for getting out there and seeking truth!

  • 6 Dennis Todd // Jun 3, 2023 at 11:30 AM

    Yep it’s everywhere.
    But it roils and bubbles over in US, and then you can add guns.

  • 7 Lisa Kemp Ebel // Jun 4, 2023 at 12:34 PM

    I wasn’t home that night, so didn’t see what went on. I read the comments in the FB group and found some very entertaining!! Especially “where were the parents” and “didn’t the parents know where their kids were”? Ummm when my sons were teenagers I didn’t have a tracker on them and they told me where they were going but how do you really know for sure?! And honestly if they had said Oh there are fireworks in Bronte, I would’ve said Great! Have fun! Some comments were typical, the age old, painting all teens as disrespectful and society is falling apart etc. Kids like to gather and gawk. Sounds like there were a few kids who went overboard. And the rest were watching and looking for excitement? I wondered why they all hung out at that corner and didn’t go to a park to shoot off the fireworks. And I do think the two stores blatantly selling fireworks to minors need to be investigated. As I said, I wasn’t there so am just trying to piece together what went on. I do think there is a valid concern about this growing each time and attracting more kids looking for trouble and pushing the boundaries too far.

  • 8 Brian Hassett // Jun 4, 2023 at 5:39 PM

    Glad to read an understanding, levelheaded response from a local, Lisa!
    95+% of those kids did absolutely nothing wrong. And yeah — kids wanna be around other kids. If I was 17 in this town I prolly woulda wanted to be there.
    Apparently the police have a major plan in place for Canada Day. Me, I’ll be at the Legion dancing to Fiddlestix.

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