By Jamie A.
New LED lights on Niagara Falls
“We're lighting a world icon.”
“We believe this new lighting will attract repeat visitors and attract new visitors to come see the falls in a much more elaborate way.”
New lighting, which will illuminate the American falls, has already been installed in the lower gorge and work is almost completed on installing the new system to the illumination tower beside Queen Victoria Place which will focus on the Horseshoe Falls.
Also, light panels are being added to the top of Table Rock which will shed light on the lip of the Horseshoe Falls.
“We've been trying to shine light through the mist for many, many years,” Adames said. “Now, with the lights on Table Rock, we can provide an even light treatment of the Horseshoe Falls.”
Recent high profile events such as the Nik Wallenda high wire walk and Red Bull Crashed Ice – where organizer used their own equipment to illuminate the Falls - demonstrated how enhanced lighting could better showcase the falls at night.
“We could have continued to use the xenon lights,” Adames said. “However, LED technology has come a long way and it's only recently we were able to identify companies that could bring forward a lighting solution.”
Following a Request for Qualifications and a Request for Proposal process, a consortium of firms comprised of ECCO Electric Ltd., Salex Inc., Mulvey & Banani Lighting Inc., Sceneworks and Stanley Electric was selected in February. Construction began in September.
Financial support for the multi-million dollar project came from both government and local tourism stakeholder groups in both Canada and the United States.
“We are very fortunate to have community stakeholders on both sides of the border who have supported our vision since the project was first proposed,” said Mark Thomas, chairman of the Niagara Falls Illumination Board and western district director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation.
“The improvement to the nightly illumination of the Falls will encourage visitation to Niagara and we appreciate the stakeholders recognizing the importance of this project for the destination.”
Niagara Falls Coun. Wayne Thomson, chairman of Niagara Falls Tourism, said he's been pushing for new lighting for the past seven years.
“I'd be having dinner at the falls with my wife and my wife and other people would look over and asking when the lights come on... they had been on for two hours. All you saw was a little bit of grey and the mist in the centre. It was very unimpressive.”
His began campaigning for enhanced lighting in early 2009 after he drove across the Rainbow Bridge and noticed the Horseshoe Falls were bathed in bright light.
“It was phenomenal,” he recalled. “The falls were lit up like you wouldn't believe.”
Thomson later learned the lights were particularly bright that night because local magician Greg Frewin was on site filming a television special.
Thomson said the new lighting will be a “huge game changer” for the city.
“People come here to see the falls and the parks system and all the other attractions in the region and they all want to go down and see the illumination of the falls in the evening,” he said.
“(The illumination) has been totally unimpressive for many years. The new lighting, in my opinion will bring worldwide publicity and will draw people here from around the world.”
An official lighting ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 1.
The new lights were originally to be unveiled during the Winter Festival of Lights launch Nov. 19.
More information: niagarafallsreview.ca