Oh Canada! What a light show on Parliament Hill in Ottawa


I’m always on the lookout for new fun lighting shows and installations to share with you but the best one I have seen so far this year was on the front lawn of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Some incredible images are still engraved in my mind.

Northern Lights is the new sound and light show that takes the audience on a journey through Canada’s history. It blends dashing digital technology with the architectural grandeur of the Canadian Parliament Buildings.

I was amazed by the elaborate details in which major events and achievements as well as key figures from Canadian history were brought to life against the backdrop of the Centre Block and Peace Tower.


Seventeen different projectors were needed to create this immersive high definition visual experience.  The projectors worked together to configure a seamless image that transformed the Centre Block on Parliament Hill into a monumental screen standing more than 143 meters (470 feet) long and 30 stories high.

“During Northern Lights, the Centre Block façade is flooded with light by more than 150 moving and static lighting fixtures. These include 50 automated lights, some of which can produce more than 16.5 million different hues. This complex lighting system is controlled by two computers. High-impact lighting and environmentally-friendly smoke effects enhance the experience. For the first time, the sound and light show on Parliament Hill uses a color laser to punctuate transitions and add depth, making this a truly multimedia show.”

I found that the original score, compelling narration and engaging sound effects added to the appeal of the 3D digital mapping experience

The achievements of Canadian explorers, scientists and innovators are featured in this impressive light show. If only history class had been that inspiring and captivating.


“July 25, 1937: Charles Saunders died in Toronto. He was the man who developed Marquis wheat, which did as much as the railroad to open up the Canadian Prairies to settlement. Developing crop varieties that could flourish under Canadian weather conditions has had an enormous impact on the people of this country.”

Canadian Heritage worked with Idées au cube (id3) of Montréal for the creation of Northern Lights.


So next summer if you visit Canada’s National Capital put this free, 30-minute sound and light extravaganza on your must-see list.

Northern Lights will be held every summer on Parliament Hill until 2019.




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