The Montreal International Fireworks Festival (French: L’International des Feux Loto-Québec) has become an annual staple of Montreal in the summer. Since 1985, rain or shine, this one-of-a-kind festival lights up the Montreal skies with impressive pyrotechnical displays from competing countries. An estimated 3 million spectators attend the festival every year, with approximately 6,000 fireworks set off during each show. That’s why finding a good location to watch the fireworks has become somewhat of an art. The following are the best spots to watch the fireworks.
The Old Port in Old Montreal
There are plenty of really good spots in Old Montreal to watch the fireworks, especially around the Old Port. The Old Port is rarely over-crowded but still offers an amazing views of the fireworks. The dark sky lights up with every explosion, lighting up the beautiful boats that are docked in the marina. If you are close enough to the river, then you may be able to get a waterfront view with spectacular fireworks reflections. No matter where you stand, you get a perfect view of the fireworks.
Clock Tower Beach in Old Montreal
Another popular area to watch the fireworks in Old Montreal is the Clock Tower Beach. Opened in 2012, the Clock Tower Beach in Montreal’s Old Port has quickly become a favored fireworks spectating spot. Clock Tower Beach’s location makes it the perfect spot to watch the pyrotechnics. You can sink your feet in the sand while you enjoy the amazing show in the sky. There is a bar on location, so you can enjoy a cold beer while you the fireworks mesmerize. Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular areas to watch the fireworks so you need to arrive at least a couple hours early to find a good spot since space fills up quickly.
La Ronde in Parc Jean Drapeau
The fireworks for the competition are launched from La Ronde amusement park. So it only makes sense to view the fireworks directly from where they are launched. La Ronde offers waterfront stadium seating to the fireworks competition but you will have to pay. However, the price is worth it. You can’t get any closer to the action than from La Ronde. Keep in mind that a portion of the fireworks display can only be seen from the ground so being close to the where the fireworks are launched provides an excellent vantage point. Being close to the action also allows you to experience the musical arrangements that are synchronized with the fireworks.
Jacques Cartier Bridge
Any Montreal local will tell you that the best place to watch the fireworks displays is from the Jacques Cartier Bridge. During nights where there is a fireworks display, the bridge becomes a pedestrian-only viewing platform from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. As the time for the fireworks approaches, vehicular traffic is closed off allowing spectators to walk up the bridge to view the pyrotechnics. There is only one entrance and exit point on the bridge, so when the fireworks are over, the crowd can be tough to get through. You might want to arrive early and start heading out before the show ends. It is also recommended to bring a sweater because it often gets windy atop the bridge.
Terrasse sur l’Auberge
Situated atop Auberge du Vieux-Port, Terrasse sur l’auberge looks out onto the Old Port, giving you some of the best seats for the International des feux Loto Quebec. Located in Montréal’s historic Old Port, the Auberge du Vieux-Port has a stylish rooftop terrace that provides the classiest fireworks viewing party in the city. A cover is charged per head on evenings with fireworks but no minimum food or beverage purchase is required. The show itself starts at 10 p.m., but aim to get there early. Reservations are only available to hotel guests, and the rooftop hits maximum capacity at about 100 people. The rooftop terrace offers snacks and appetizers but not a full dining menu, so expect to grab something light rather than eat a full meal while you watch the fireworks.