Niagara Falls have been a canvas for light displays and illumination presentations as far back as the Prince of Wales’ visit to the region in 1860. The early days have transitioned into a regular tradition, adding to Niagara’s festive atmosphere and contributing to key events like the Winter Festival of Lights.
The technology has also come a long way. High-tech lighting installations are housed in the Illumination Tower, next to Queen Victoria Place, as well as at the Table Rock Centre and opposite the falls in Niagara Gorge.
Niagara 150 Illumination Light Upgrades
Recently the lights have undergone a massive renovation, modernising the technology to improve both the number of light projectors and their quality. The result is that four times the lighting is possible, and the new LED lighting uses 82% less power than the previous zeon lights. Additionally, the colour rage is higher with about 1,800 colour combinations possible, and the lights require less maintenance and will burn strong without replacement for about twenty-five years.
This is all a massive step forward for the illumination schedule. The light displays are now more colourful, more efficient, more reliable and the expanded number of projectors means more of the falls can be covered.
Niagara 150 Illumination Schedule Highlights
The falls are illuminated all year round, but the schedule can vary, taking advantage of long winter nights and the associated Festival of Lights. The 2017 schedule is expanded from previous years. Approaching mid-year the displays are going later, on an 8:00 pm – 1:00 am schedule as of April, but extending to a 2:00 am finish by May. That late finish will be in effect until October, and then switching earlier (midnight finish) by November.
The start times will adjust with the weather, starting around 8:00 – 8:30 pm until August, and transitioning to earlier times until the 6:00 pm schedule in October.
The times may vary depending on the occasion and the season, but what matters is that there’s something to see every night at the falls. Take an after-dinner walk along the Niagara Parkway or find a vantage point in the Niagara skyline, and you won’t be disappointed.
There’s also a Special Illumination Schedule to account for special events and promotional displays to tie in with participating charities, not-for-profit organisations and noteworthy dates. The 2017 calendar includes special shows for (but not limited to):
Niagara 150 Special Illuminations
- Earth Day (22 April)
- International Guide Dog Day (26 April)
- World Wish Day (29 April)
- World Ovarian Cancer Day (8 May)
- Victoria Day (22 May)
- Memorial Day (29 May)
- World Environment Day (5 June)
- World Refugee Day (20 June)
- Canada Day (1 July)
- Independence Day (4 July)
- World Food Day (16 October)
- Remembrance Day (11 November).
Look to the falls on any of these dates at night and the display will have special colour themes and styles, making the waterfalls more vibrant than ever.
Finally, take note of the fireworks schedule as well, so that any night-time scenery shots have the full array of Falls Illumination and skyline pyrotechnics. Dates vary and are subject to weather conditions but you can generally rely on regular sessions from May until September, as well as key events like 1 July (Canada Day).
It’s the type of addition to the atmosphere that can be both a pleasant background feature and a centrepiece in itself. With the program expanding and the new technology showing off its versatility, the bigger and better illumination gives new reasons to watch the falls after dark.
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