Saturday, October 21, 2017

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is a summer tradition on Parliament Hill. A light show depicting the history of the country in five themes is projected onto Centre Block. For all the time I've lived in this city, I've never attended, but this past September, I attended on the last two nights of the event, September 15th and 16th. The photos date back to the first night, and I took a video of the finale on the second night. By September, it's dark by nine, which is when things get underway; at the height of summer, the show starts at ten o'clock. Narration alternates between English and French, as do the quotations throughout the show. I'll have more of this over the next two days. This might be the last time for this program for awhile; Centre Block is due to be under renovation work for some time, but looking at the West Block, it might well be possible that it can be projected onto that.

The show begins with Centre Block first lit up as a prologue, then its predecessor, the original Centre Block, super-imposed against it. The fire of 1916 is shown bringing down the entire structure, along with the closing of doors by a fast thinking clerk, which saved the Library of Parliament from the flames.

The prologue complete, the first theme begins: the Foundation of the Nation. The First Peoples of the continent and the arrival of Europeans are featured.

The second theme is Strength in Partnership. It commences with a conversation in French and English between John A. Macdonald and George-Etienne Cartier, their faces and silhouettes projected onto the stone of Centre Block as the two discuss the challenges of forging a nation out of the British colonies, and the history of collaboration and cooperation of those who have come before.


  1. This looks like another interesting event.

  2. I like those lightshows in the dark.

  3. ...these light shows are fun.

  4. Must be great to be there during the show.

  5. @Kay: it was.

    @Marianne: me too.

    @Tom: they are!

    @Francisco: thanks!

    @Jan: it was indeed.

  6. Hello, pretty captures of the light show. Your title threw me off, I was thinking it was the Aurora. Happy weekend!

  7. Seeing the real Northern Lights is on my bucket list. Have you seen them?


  8. Each of your posts amazes me with all the special events in Ottawa.

  9. Love these light shows, they are so clever. We have one every year also and I must admit like yourself, I've only been to two ☺

  10. I've only seen one of these light shows in person but I've seen photos of some and now your photos, and I must say they are lots of fun and very impressive.

  11. so cool. i love all the colors. not sure i can pick a fave??! ( ;

  12. Wonderful light shows, William!

  13. Like the story about the fast thinking clerk.

  14. That looks spectacular, William. I would love to see it!

  15. Looks awesome, I would love to see it too. Do they record these on DVD to sell and raise money for events in the future? I'm sure people would be glad to have a copy.

  16. @Eileen: I wondered if anyone might think of the other northern lights!

    @Janis: yes, on a few occasions. They are magical to see.

    @Marleen: they certainly are.

    @Nancy: definitely.

    @Red: we have a lot going on here.

    @Grace: I was glad to take this one in.

    @Lowell: I saw these two performances, and wished I'd gone before. There's also one around Christmas that I have caught- mind you, they start a lot earlier in the evening!

    @Beth: my favourite of the whole set is going to be in the last post.

    @Linda: I certainly thought so!

    @Revrunner: he earned his pay that night.

    @RedPat: something to keep in mind if you're visiting in the summer.

    @Bill: I imagine it's filmed officially from time to time, but I've never seen a DVD for it. I will have a video coming up in the last post of this set. The whole thing takes a bit over a half hour.

  17. Oh how I wish they would do something like this here. It must have been wonderful to see.

  18. Little more creative and interesting than straight fireworks ~ ^_^

    Love and light,
    A ShutterBug Explores aka (A Creative Harbor)

  19. Such amazing technology!
    My late mother's friends are obsessed with Sir John A.!

  20. This looks great.
    The way technology can be used to highlight an event like this is brilliant.

    All the best Jan

  21. @Sharon: it was.

    @Carol: true!

    @Maywyn: I do think so.

    @Norma: it definitely is.

    @Jennifer: he was quite a man.

    @Jan: it is indeed.

    @Klara: yes it was.