Labor Day weekend, but they’re also causing an outcry from those who fear noise from the event will do more harm than good.
Critics of the Canadian International Airshow say the event, a staple of the Canadian National Exhibition featuring military pilots demonstrating their most elaborate loops, rolls and turns, causes undue stress for people living with PTSD and unnecessary disruption to people and pets.
The event features professional pilots from the United States Blue Angels, Canadian Forces Snowbirds and others. The roar of plane engines could be heard as early as Thursday when the show’s practice days began, prompting several people to describe the noise as deafening and terrifying on social media platforms like Reddit, Facebook and X, formerly Twitter. Some said it regularly caused nightmares for themselves or family members, and others considered leaving town for the weekend to escape the noises.
Hundreds of people were still gathered in Coronation Park near the CNE grounds when the show kicked off on Saturday, but not all were there to admire the movements.
Anita Presnyak and Anton Babych, who are from Ukraine and live near the CNE site, said some of their friends, still struggling with memories of the war, expressed unease with the air show and even felt tantrums panic because of the noise.
She also said it caused some anxiety in her little black dog, Pixel.
“Immediately he tries to find me and he runs towards me and sometimes bumps into the couch,” Presnyak said.
Dawson Robertson said his American bulldog, Frank, was visibly anxious at the start of the air show demonstrations.
“I think there are a lot of considerations, like people with PTSD, dogs, and maybe just older people,” he said.
He said he enjoyed the show but would rather see it last for a single day than throughout Labor Day weekend.
On the other side of the park, near the CNE grounds, Jamie Davidson was walking with his two Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
Davidson said he lives in an apartment on the 20th floor and admits the noise is very loud coming from his accommodation. He said aircraft noises make his dogs anxious, although activities such as the Canada Day fireworks can elicit a similar response.
“The big one, she just sits in the corner of the couch and curls up,” he said.
But Davidson voiced his support for the event, noting the number of people the event draws to the park.
“I grew up in Toronto, I think it’s great that they keep a tradition going,” he said. “To be completely honest with you, it’s nice.”
The City of Toronto did not comment on the various concerns raised, but issued a news release inviting residents to provide feedback as part of public consultations on noise pollution that will begin next week.
A spokesperson for the Canadian International Airshow said the event complied with all noise regulations provided by Transport Canada, Nav Canada and other government organizations.
“While we understand the sensitivity some members of the public may feel, our goal has always been to inspire the public to pursue their dreams and enjoy the field of aviation,” Colleen McCourt wrote in an email.
The Canadian International Air Show will run until Monday afternoon.
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