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Guelph's New Year's Eve fireworks still happening despite frigid temperatures

Some larger cities are cutting back and cancelling festivities tonight, but Guelph's traditional event will happen as planned
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Last year's fireworks at Riverside Park. File photo

Fireworks will go ahead as planned New Year's Eve at Riverside Park despite temperatures that are expected to feel like -25 C.

Several larger municipalities have cancelled or cut back their New Year's Eve celebrations tonight because of the extremely cold temperatures, but Guelph organizers say Guelph's event is much shorter than those in larger cities and the fireworks happen much earlier in the night.

The fireworks are set to go off at 8 p.m. sharp.

"We're Canadians. As long as you keep moving and dress warmly in this weather, we'll do fine," said organizer Paul Taylor of the Rotary Club of Guelph.

"It's become a tradition. A family tradition. It's a tradition for all ages and if we shut down a tradition the city might get a little concerned with us," Taylor said.

"As long as people keep moving, and there's lots of things to see around the park, I think people will be okay if they dress properly."

The fireworks are part of New Year's Eve celebrations that include free carousel rides and the Sparkles In The Park light display. Taylor said workers have also created a frozen pathway through the trees for skating.

Environment Canada says it will be -18 C tonight at 8 p.m. with a "feels like" temperature of -25 C.

Cities such as Calgary, Toronto and Charlottetown have either shortened festivities, cancelled elements of it or moved events inside because of the extreme cold spell gripping the country.

"In some of the bigger places there's a lot of standing around. I can imagine if you're standing around for a long time it can be a lot colder on the feet," Taylor said.

He said that Sparkles In The Park has been getting a steady stream of visitors the past few nights despite the cold temperatures.

Taylor said he has spoken to the company responsible for the fireworks and they said there are no weather-related issues in setting them off when it's this cold.

"It's actually going to be a little warmer than that it is now," said Taylor on Sunday morning.

"I don't expect as many people at the park as usual, but maybe there will be more because there will be lots more parking available."