- By Kevin
- On Mar 30, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Niagara Falls during the daytime is powerful,as you watch the force of the rushing waters,but at night it becomes magical as the coloful lights illuminate the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.Lighting the falls is something people have yearned for throughout the history,according to the Niagara Parks Commission.
In old stone building high above the street in Queen Victoria Park,the Illuminations Tower houses rows of spotlights which have lit up the American and Horseshoe Falls since 1925,offering millions of visitors a view of the falls after dark.The Niagara Falls Illumination Board was established by businessmen.The board's first installation in 1925 was 24 carbon searchlights emitting a total of 1.32 billion candlepower.The falls have been illuminated ever since that time-except during World War II and when the generating plant could not provide enough power.
But the nighttime view of Niagara Falls is about to change dramatically as the lighting technology used moves into the 21st century.The falls will seem even more magical soon as new LED lights are being installed to replace 20-year-old bulbs that shine on them.
The Niagara Falls Illumination Board,a bi-national organization,has begun a$3.1 million project to replace the existing 21 Xenon spotlights,18 on the Illumination Tower and three more in the Niagara Gorge,with the latest in LED technology which will provide twice the lighting levels,programmable features,and a broader and more robust color spectrum.The new lighting will eliminate dark gaps while also providing greater energy efficiencies and reduced maintenance costs,according to the Niagara Parks Commission.
The brighter,more vibrant illumination is three times more powerful with all the colors of the spectrum,according to the Niagara Falls Illumination Board.
Night illumination will continue through the lighting replacement process,which began in September,according to the Niagara Parks Commission.An official ceremony to celebrate the new lighting is planned for Dec.1.
A bank of the new LED lights that are being installed to illuminate Niagara Falls at night.The lights were being installed at the Niagara Falls Illumination Tower in Niagara Falls,Ontario,on October 27,2016.
The searchlight-style lighting will be replaced by banks of flat lighting panels atop the Illumination Tower,in the Niagara Gorge and in a new location atop Table Rock.A total of 12,600 LED lights will replace the current 21 spotlights.
The difference between the two technologies is like comparing a 1950s-era television to the flat screen TVs of today.The new lights will shine twice as much light on the falls as the ones they are replacing.
The energy usage for the existing lights is about 126 kilowatts,which costs$33,000 a year to operate.The new system would only use 52 kilowatts,a 59%reduction in energy use,Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A.Dyster told the City Council several months ago.
Mark Thomas,New York States Parks Western District director,is also chairman of the Niagara Falls Illumination Board.He has called lighting the falls a vital part of the visitor experience and said that the improvements will encourage visitation.That means moreNiagara Falls trips will be planned.
Dyster agreed and told the Common Council in May,"There are some that say this would be more of a direct benefit to the Canadians because they front the falls,but this is a benefit to us as a tourism destination to have a view of the falls at nighttime that goes along with the experience during the day."
A total of approximately 20 million people visit both the United States and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls each year,but according to tourism statistics only one third to half of that number stay overnight.Leaders on both sides of the border hope more visitors will remain overnight if there's a spectacular view of Niagara Falls that can only be seen at night.
"It's a completely different technology.It's a major changeover of the lighting of the falls,"said David Adames,chief operating officer of the Niagara Parks Commission in Ontario.Both countries agreed to split the total cost.
"A lighting program will also encourage those who have been to Niagara Falls before to come back,"added Adames."The falls looks different at different times of the day and in different seasons."
Adames said that the lighting will be more consistent and directed and won't spill over beyond the falls on the American side,as searchlights can often do.They will also be able to light the rim of the Horseshoe Falls,beyond the mist,which is something Xenon lighting is unable to do.
Following a request for proposals,a consortium of Canadian firms were chosen for the enhanced illumination project:ECCO Electric Ltd.,Mulvey and Banani Lighting Inc.,Sceneworks and Stanley Electric.
Let's Look forward to the Niagara Falls after replacing its lights with New LED lights and also the brandnew night illumination!