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Le Mondial SAQ 2001
Montréal International Fireworks Competition Report

Paul's Rankings for 2001

This year's competition was more mixed than last year's due mainly to the type of firing system used with and even split between traditional and computerized. Technical problems were mercifully at a very low level though we did have one late start and a fire at the end of the American show. The weather was also good on the whole. There were no displays where it rained during the display, though smoke accumulation was a real problem for the Portuguese show.

As usual, I will present a summary of each display and then give my personal rankings together with my prediction for the popular jury's votes. For interest, I've also tabulated how many pages of notes I took down for each display (under "Pages").

Country Firing System Comments Pages
Germany Traditional Electrical

Some excellent material, particularly the crackling comets and shells. Synchronization was good for a traditionally fired display, but not as tight as a computerized show. The theme was very traditional, and the lack of the use of the lake is a negative point. Enjoyable, but not a winning show.

Portugal Traditional electrical

The damp weather caused a lot of smoke accumulation which spoiled the show somewhat. I enjoyed the music and the 1,000 rockets used were fantastic, as was some of the other material, particularly the comets and blue star mines. Synchronization was rather slack in places unfortunately. Excellent finale, despite the smoke. The best of the traditionally fired shows, though I think the weather conditions will hamper their chances for a prize.

Taiwan PyroDigital

Brilliant product with multi pistil shells and fantastic crackling shells. Excellent synchronization, though there were periods of a rather repetitive nature in the middle of the display. Overall theme was well executed and a good variation in rhythm and pace, though a couple of sections did feel a little bit like product demonstrations. Apparent technical problems diminished the intensity of the finale, which then appeared to be smaller than the opening segment. Stands a good chance of a bronze Jupiter.

Spain Traditional electrical

Fabulous. The Spanish masters know exactly how to excite the passions of the crowd. Beautiful product, fantastic 6" nautical shells, wonderful girandolas and generally good synchronization considering it was traditionally fired, though slack in some places. The faux finale caught many people off guard as there was a dramatic pause before the real finale started. Must be in the winning three.

United States PyroDigital and MagicFire

The most complex display ever fired in the competition. Fabulous choreography, especially in the Lord of The Dance segment with 1011 cues in 45 seconds - absolutely without equal. Stunning synchronization in the 2001 Space Odyssey segment due to the use of MagicFire electronic time fuses. Interesting idea for a theme, but unfortunately I felt that the thread was lost somewhere around the middle of the display and thus it just didn't excite the passions one would have expected. Some great product but some of it used to excess, viz. the endless flights of girandolas during The Blue Danube, where blue was somewhat lacking. I think the scale of the project unfortunately means that a visit to the winner's podium won't be on the agenda this year.

Canada FireOne

A very artistic display and the most extensive use of the lake I've ever seen. Unfortunately, one came away with the feeling that this display was much lighter in product than any of the other displays and a late start always engenders a feeling of anti-climax unfortunately. A bit more product and a few more dramatic moments would have ensured a place on the winner's rostrum, unfortunately I think this display will have just been pipped to the post.

France Traditional Electrical

Well executed display with an interesting theme and some beautiful product. Some segments were perhaps a little bit repetitive but the finale to music from Riverdance was hypnotic and very much enjoyed by the audience. Nice variation in rhythm and pace but perhaps not quite enough peaks of excitement. It's a toss up between France and Taiwan for the Bronze Jupiter.

Australia FireOne

Well themed and artistically executed display. Some beautiful product including strobes in fantastic colours and amazing silver kamuro shells. Great use was made of the lake and of all three levels of the display. Almost flawless synchronization and the themed special effects really augmented the display and tied the theme together. Good choice of music with a variation of rhythm and pace and a good finale. Got to be a winner.


The top three displays this year are somewhat easier to determine compared to last year, though it is easier to say which won't win compared to which will. Germany will not be a winner and neither will the United States, but for very different reasons. The German display was too traditional for a competition such as we have here. The American display was extremely ambitious and had moments of sheer brilliance, which may merit the awarding of a Special Jupiter for technical achievement. But the display fell short of the expectations that had been generated and I'm sure will be penalized by the Jury for this. The Canadian display was very artistic but was just that bit too light on product and I think this cost them a place on the podium. This leaves Taiwan, Spain, France and Australia as the contenders for the awards. I think Taiwan, despite having fantastic product and excellent synchronization will be penalized for the underwhelming finale and portions of the display which seemed more like product demonstrations. So this leaves France, Spain and Australia with France in the clear Bronze position.

Paul's jury predictions

Paul's personal choice

One final note, just to say that I consider myself a reporter on the competition, not a critic. The combination of fireworks and music excites different people in different ways. My musical tastes are different to other people's and this inevitably influences my enjoyment of a display. This year some displays which I personally really liked, others disliked because of the music. My job, as your humble reporter, is to describe what I saw and report the music used. The Jury has the difficult job of deciding which three should "win". In fact, just being invited to compete sets these companies apart. For a different perspective on the displays, take a look at Georges Lamon's web site, Georges is the official critic at La Presse, one of the local french newspapers. His reports are in French, but the on-line translation programs give a good sense of his thoughts.


Thanks to the public relations people of La Ronde for the official press release material, shown in white.