Meet David Bryant, Leaside’s master of flash

David Bryant, Ashley and Hailey. Photo by Susan Scandiffio.
David Bryant, Ashley and Hailey. Photo by Susan Scandiffio.

Leasiders have had wonderful local opportunities to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in the first six months of 2017. With the beautiful red and white tulips outside the Leaside Library, commemorative programming inside the library, special events at the curling club, school art displays and carnivals, to name but a few, the neighbourhood has being showing its national pride in a myriad of meaningful ways.

But the most dazzling and brilliant celebration is just around the corner. On July 3rd, Leaside will positively sparkle with the sensational lights and sounds of our very own Canada 150 fireworks display.

Leaside is fortunate to boast a number of enthusiastic volunteers who generously donate their energies to many neighbourhood causes. The same holds true for the coordinator of fireworks displays.

The current master of flash is David Bryant, a Leasider, who along with his wife Ashley, daughter Hailey, and past coordinator Jon C. (last name withheld at his request), have put together stunning shows to mark Victoria Day, Labour Day, and of course, Canada Day.

David and Ashley are both Leaside lifers who grew up in the neighbourhood, attended Northlea and Leaside schools, and are now raising their daughter Hailey in north Leaside. The Bryants have a soft spot for Leaside. As David says, “This neighbourhood, as much as it has changed, the people are still so great.”

And it’s not just Leasiders who love Bryant’s shows. Bryant has relatives who come from Bradford and colleagues from Oshawa who travel in to enjoy the hoopla.

Bryant has been coordinating fireworks for the neighbourhood for the past two years, and in that time, the shows have grown by leaps and bounds and become ever-flashier. On July 1st last year, approximately 60 pieces of fireworks were set off at the field at Leaside High School. On the Labour Day weekend of 2016, Bryant used 85 pieces, and this past Victoria Day, 115 pieces of fireworks enthralled all who came to sit on the hill and be dazzled by the show. Bryant estimates that approximately 600 families attended the Victoria Day display alone.

Photo By David Bryant
Photo By David Bryant

Bryant’s experience with fireworks shows began long before he started his Leaside displays. Working with friends on their neighbourhood shows gave Bryant the opportunity to gain the knowledge necessary to produce the most awesome show possible. Along with this experience, Bryant is a constant researcher of what’s new and exciting in the fireworks world. There is more to planning a fireworks show than one might imagine! A tremendous amount of preparation goes into ensuring that small pieces of fireworks aren’t obscured by larger ones, the heights of the fireworks are spaced out, colours are coordinated, and the pace of the show is steady. Bryant is so well-versed in the science of fireworks that he’s always confident that his shows will go off without a hitch. Punningly, Bryant remarks, “You always have to look on the bright side of things!”

On July 3rd, Bryant will be using at least 150 pieces of fireworks, many of which will be red and white. Expect a jaw-dropping celebration of this country’s big birthday.

Of course, the costs add up for such a magnificent show. Bryant receives a substantial discount from Victory Fireworks, but the last display cost some $1,700 and it looks like this year’s show will come in at over $5,000. Attendees have always been extremely generous helping to offset the bill, and Bryant does not profit from the shows at all. With any donations received above the cost of the show in advance, Bryant assures that he will use the contributions to purchase additional pieces or place the funds in a reserve for future shows.

The Canada 150 July 3rd show will begin at approximately 9:15pm. Bring your blankets or chairs, your neighbours to celebrate with, and the knowledge that you will be thoroughly entertained with a display befitting the occasion.

About Susan Scandiffio 154 Articles
Susan Scandiffio was born in Scotland and raised in Toronto. While she holds a master’s degree in history, her main passion (besides her wonderful family) is sports. Susan can often be found at the A.C.C. or in a Leaside arena or playing field, scoping out stories for Leaside Life.