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All photos by Hannah Manning

Parliament’s light show is dazzling and informative

By Hannah Manning on July 13, 2016


Northern Lights, the spectacular sound and light show projected onto Parliament, is back for another summer to dazzle locals and tourists. Opening night, originally slated for Saturday but postponed to Sunday due to inclement weather, saw the lawn in front of Centre Block jam-packed, and it did not disappoint!

The program runs every night this summer so grab a blanket and head to Parliament early to stake out your spot. Prior to the show kids and adults alike can enjoy Canadian music and interactive games projected from the Cube, the projection trailer used for the show. During the presentation, gears and bursts of light can be seen emitting from the Cube, adding to the immersive feeling of the evening.

The bilingual narration takes you on a journey through time back to the beginning of Canada and uses five “books” to highlight our history. Themes include Foundations of the Nation, Strength in Partnership, Discovery and Adventure, Valour, and Pride and Vision.

The program begins with Canada pre-Confederation and weaves the story of Canada’s history, highlighting the important contributions of Canadians both at home and abroad. Featuring quotes and sound clips, the show has a very real element to it. Canadian discoveries and inventions such as the Canadarm are featured. A particularly touching moment took place at the end of the show when, as the anthem played, everyone rose and sang along.

Already a breathtaking building, Centre Block serves as the perfect back drop for telling the story of Canada. The high level of detail in Northern Lights is achieved by using 17 different projectors on a screen that measures more than 143 metres long and 30 storeys high.

With more than 15km of wiring, 150 moving and static light fixtures, environmentally friendly smoke, 18 speakers, an original score and so much more, this is an unparalleled experience.

Northern Lights is the 6th sound and light show to be presented on Parliament Hill since 1984. Replacing Mosaika, it premiered last summer and will run until 2019. This year’s presentation has been enhanced with the aid of a new colour laser making it an experience not to be missed!

Northern Lights is a free bilingual show presented nightly until September 10, 2016. Show start times change throughout the summer: 10pm in July, 9:30pm in August and 9pm in September. The show may be cancelled due to poor weather so check Twitter or Facebook for updates.