Fire on the Water

Your guide to the best boater-friendly Canada Day fireworks ceremonies all across Ontario.

Each city has its own unique way of commemorating the Constitution Act, from skateboarding competitions and pancake breakfasts to live performances and historic festivities.

My family have always been avid boaters and whenever on holidays, we research the communities that will have displays of choreographed fireworks. There is just something about watching fireworks aboard a boat. This unique experience is enjoyed by children of all ages.

Throughout my years of boating, I have enjoyed fireworks aboard a boat in many communities. Here are a few that I found to be exceptional.


North Bay

The city of North Bay sponsors a Canada Day fireworks cruise aboard the legendary Chief Commanda II on Lake Nipissing (one of Ontario's largest inland lakes of over 700 square km). On July 1, weather permitting, the annual fireworks display can be enjoyed by private boats in the marina, or the most stunning effect is from the water with the lighted city of North Bay as a backdrop.

The fireworks display is free or one can buy a cruise ticket aboard the Chief Commanda II with a DJ onboard. A fully licensed bar and BBQ are onboard to enjoy while watching the show from the ship. Many private boats cruise out about 1/2 mile off shore to watch as well.

The town of Callander, situated on Callander Bay of Lake Nipissing, also hosts a fireworks display and parade of lights. Callander is about 20 km by road or water from the city of North Bay and always puts on a great display every year. It is well worth the trip to Lake Nipissing to participate.

Wasaga Beach

On July 1, the Town of Wasaga Beach celebrates Canada’s birthday. There are always several activities including Children’s Activities, Youth Activities, Food and Marketplace Vendors, Face Painting and much more. All activities take place at the Stonebridge Town Centre with the Canada Day Fireworks Celebration on the beach. 

Spectators of all ages enjoy the fireworks show in Wasaga Beach every year.


Built upon the pristine shores of the Lake of the Woods, Kenora offers a starting point for a variety of boating adventures – motor boats, houseboats, sailing, kayaking and canoeing. Now a part of the newly-amalgamated City of Kenora, Keewatin is situated on the northern shore of Lake of the Woods and offers a fun-filled celebration of Canada’s Birthday, including a BBQ, amusements, attractions and concerts at Harbourfront. On this night, the skies brighten up for Keewatin’s annual colorful display of fireworks and the best front row seats are from the boats moored in the bay! 

Fireworks in Kenora

There's something special about watching fireworks in Kenora onboard a boat.


Canada Day is a major celebration in Ottawa. Ottawaians ramp up the day with a plethora of events held all over the city from dawn till dusk. There is everything from skateboarding competitions to historical presentations. The biggest festivities are found on Parliament Hill. Kicking things off in the afternoon, several artists take the stage to perform. The concert is followed by the annual fireworks display over the Ottawa River. For front row seats, arrive early to Jacques-Cartier Park, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Major's Hill Park, Victoria Island, or anywhere along the river.


Toronto's Canada Day celebrations continue to grow, with the city hosting ongoing festivities throughout the day. The biggest event of the day takes place at Mel Lastman Square with the annual 100-metre Canada Day Dash. Toronto's streets are then filled with street performers, jugglers, magicians, and musicians. Concerts are a popular draw ,with various artists performing just prior to the big-bang Canada Day Celebration from Mel Lastman Square.

No matter your age, if you ever have the opportunity to enjoy fireworks from the comfort of a boat, I strongly recommend that you jump onboard. It is always an unforgettable experience for me and I will continue to enjoy this with my family.

About Cynthia Hodgson

No stranger to motorsports, Cynthia Hodgson has been involved in the recreational boating industry and those of similar nature for many years. Cynthia is currently the Marketing Manager for the provincial recreational boating association Boating Ontario. She has experience with all facets of the media world. She has previously worked in radio, been a freelance writer and periodically she can be seen on PowerBoat Television and Canadian Sportfishing Television. 

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