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'Just a bunch of Karens': North Vancouverites discuss Halloween fireworks ban

Residents had a lot to say about the suggestion to ban Halloween fireworks in the District of North Vancouver
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“Just a bunch of Karens complaining about some people having fun one night out of the year,” was the comment North Vancouver resident Frank Cheng wrote when it came to the suggestion of a ban on fireworks on Halloween. 

And, he wasn't the only one who had a strong opinion on the matter. North Vancouverites had an explosive discussion this week when the District of North Vancouver put forward a motion to put an end to Halloween firework displays at Monday's council meeting

It lit a fuse for many in the community who are frustrated with the “bang, boom, bang,” through all hours of the night on Oct. 31 and the days leading up to the spooky evening. 

Some residents simply want the fireworks tradition to die out because it upsets their pets. Others made solid suggestions for creating sanctioned displays everyone can enjoy. Many who are for private fireworks shows say it’s a family tradition they don’t want to let go of.

The district's current bylaw restricts fireworks to just four hours per year on Halloween night and to just residents who purchased a licence from the fire department on the promise they’ll only be ignited in a private yard. All three North Shore municipalities co-ordinated to write similar bylaws, although the City of North Vancouver brought in a ban in 2009. For many though, it’s more of a suggestion than a bylaw.

There were 52 permits issued for fireworks in 2020 but over the Halloween weekend, there were more than 180 complaints related to fireworks sent to the North Vancouver RCMP and West Vancouver Police Department, according to district staff.

Here’s what North Shore News readers had to say about the issue on Facebook:


“I love the fireworks. We have small children and they love it too. It doesn't happen more than a couple of times a year. Many people I know with dogs also manage just fine. Vancouver was once know as "no fun city" and this ban will a) push us back to that era and b) will not end fire works as many people will still buy them and set them off, but instead of in controlled areas, they will sneak in to parks and create fire hazards,” Clint Landrock wrote.

“Fireworks when used appropriately and according to the actual bylaws are AWESOME. What everybody complains about is the improper use of fireworks, which is already against the bylaws which we already have. We don’t need to ban them entirely, we need to enforce the bylaws and inform people of these rules before Halloween begins. Don’t ruin fireworks for everybody just because there are people misusing them. What’s going to happen in future Halloweens if we ban fireworks? The people who use them illegally will continue to use them. You ruin it for the law abiding citizens and the bylaw breakers don’t care,” Juan Manuel Palacio wrote.

“Nothing wrong with fireworks. I've enjoyed it as a kid 30 years ago and my kids enjoy it now. It's a BC tradition. Just a bunch of Karen's complaining about some people having fun one night out of the year. There's more of a reason to ban smoking and drinking yet no one does anything about that. How many people die from drinking and driving? It totally makes sense to ban drinking altogether right?” Frank Cheng wrote.

“Police those that break the rules don’t punish the ones that follow protocols and provide a enjoyable experience for friends, family and neighbours. If control is what’s desired, then create some safe firework displays put on by professionals so that kids and families can continue to enjoy it.” Dan Pultr wrote. 

“North Vancouver is full of Karens,” Trevor Kaleb Wallace wrote.

“Don’t let the yuppie dog owners win!” Steven Myhre wrote.

“How antiseptic can we make our lives. Fireworks and children having fun go together. A ban on fireworks would be soooooo sad and unforgivable,” Pamela Mitchell wrote.

“People suck let the youth live a little it's only 1 day out of the year,” Ben Hussey wrote.


“The fairest solution is for DNV or communities on the North Shore to put on a sanctioned fireworks show on Halloween - put on by professionals - which will be more entertaining than anything a group of individuals could conjure up themselves. One in Lynn Valley, one in Deep Cove, Edgemont, etc. Our attitude towards fireworks in North Van has to change. Canada-wide, it is not the norm for fireworks to be going off throughout all of October, and then incessantly on the 30th, 31st and first of November. I also have a dog that is scared of them, it scares wildlife, and more often than not the mess is not being picked up,” Craig Stevenson wrote.

“I love fireworks. Unfortunately, people are often irresponsible with them. A neighbour in my co-op was setting them off in our parking lot close to homes. Another neighbour talked to her because she was concerned because there were a few kids about and she was worried about them getting hurt and being scared because of the proximity. I think the police have better things to do than monitor this. Maybe the fire departments in each neighbourhood could set up and monitor an area where people could set them off,” Zona Gilley Sveinsson wrote.

“When I was growing up our community had the fire department come every year and put on a show on the school grounds. At eight sharp we would all show up and they would present a firework show that lasted half an hour. It was something that we all look forward to every year and nobody got hurt. Where has that gone. Put on a show that is safe for everybody. At least have that every year.” Monika Colmorgen wrote.

“Why not ban residential fireworks and have the city or organizations get licences to put them off by the harbour, so it’s safe and at a certain time. Then we can protect our veterans and pets as we will not be surprised,” Sandra Martin wrote.

“Professional displays only and ban the amateurs,” Katrina Bancroft wrote.

“I think they should be banned for individuals to use. The noise level where I live was ridiculous all week, and on Halloween night the air was thick with the smoke from them. It would be nice if social groups could raise money, get a proper permit, and put on a show for the community. This bang, boom, bang all day and night for a week is very distressing!” Denise Lett Howell wrote.


“Ban them ASAP. People were letting them off in our area until 4 a.m. It would be fine if people would consider others now a days they DO NOT! My two small dogs are still afraid to go out to have a pee after dark three days later. God knows what they do to the poor wild animals!” Susan James wrote.

“They really ought to be banned. Wildlife deals with enough stress from humans. Can we check ourselves and finally start to think about how our actions affect others?” Lori McIntosh wrote.

“I certainly hope they do, it is disruptive and not to say harmful to pets and wildlife … they start fires, harm people and ordinary people should not be all [allowed] to buy them and set them off. The city banned them and DNV should follow their lead,” Elizabeth Shewchuk wrote.

“Hate fireworks. People were setting them off from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. No sleep whatsoever, or ability to work the next day. Hope they die,” Anya Tikhomirova wrote.

“Badly dated activity. Even more dangerous. Time to go!” Jonathan Reimer wrote.

“Ya think? Just yesterday, walking past Capilano Elementary at 5 p.m., a group of young teen boys - about 13 years old - were shooting rockets ... AT EACH OTHER ... and these fire explosives were actually hitting each of them. Way to go, adults - way to buy explosives for the kids so they can blow each other up. P.S. - Halloween night they were shooting fire rockets at cars as they drove through the intersection of Lloyd and 22nd. And DNV is "mulling" ???” Laurie D Laura wrote.

Join the live discussion on the North Shore News Facebook page. 


Thoughts on this?

Posted by North Shore News on Tuesday, November 3, 2020


Elisia Seeber is the North Shore News’ Indigenous and civic affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

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