The Niagara Falls Illumination Board's
June 2015 -
Companies Bid on Light Contarct
In June 2015, there were seven
companies on a world-wide basis still vying to become the
contractor of choice for the new Niagara Falls Illumination
contract. All the companies thus far are working on LED
light concepts to light up the Falls of Niagara rather than
the current Xenon bulbs. The LED lights would be required to
have twice the output of the current illumination lights. At
this point in time, there is no current LED system in
existence so that perhaps the future of illumination of this
type has yet to be invented. As time goes on the current
supply of Xenon bulbs become more and more scarce to locate
and hence much more expensive to purchase.
May 1st 2015 -
Peter Gordon Retires
On May 1st 2015, Pete Gordon
officially retired from the Niagara Falls Illumination Board
after serving as as light operator for 53 years. Pete is 83
years old and began his career as a painter for the Niagara
Parks Commission. That was his day job. He began working as
a light operator at night at a time when maintaining the
lights was a two-man operation and required the operators to
change carbon rods to each of the carbon-arc lights.
April 2015 -
New Light Operators Hired
The Niagara Falls Illumination Board
has hired two new operators for the illumination lights.
Gene Pellerin and Bill Storring will carry on the tradition
and history of changing the colours of Niagara Falls on a
December 4th 2014 -
Niagara Falls Illumination Board Selects
The Niagara Falls Illumination Board
have selected Mark Thomas as their newest chairman. He is
the western district director of the New York State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Thomas
replaces outgoing Chair Mayor Jim Diodati, who held the
position since November 2012 and will continue to serve as a
board member representing the City of Niagara Falls,
Thomas brings a wealth of
tourism-related experience to the position, as he currently
serves as the chief administrator of 40 state park
facilities covering 10 western New York counties. Thomas
will serve as chair of the Niagara Falls Illumination Board
for a two-year term, effective immediately.
October 24th 2014 -
Niagara Falls Illumination Board Issues
RFQ to Examine Enhanced Lighting of
As part of its ongoing role to
support the destination and promote
increased visitation to the region, the
Niagara Falls Illumination Board has
issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ),
to investigate new lighting technology
and capabilities to improve the overall
illumination of both the Canadian
Horseshoe and American Falls.
Currently, both Falls are lit
using Xenon light technology. As it
undertakes this process, the Board would
like to assess what new technologies
could be used to enhance or upgrade the
existing lighting systems now in place,
as well as the potential for
improvements in energy efficiency. It
has been almost 20 years since the
Illumination Board made a major
investment in lighting technology. The
recent success of events such as the
Wallenda Walk, Red Bull Crashed Ice, the
Nelson Mandela tribute and the
in celebration of the Royal Birth, have
shown the tremendous potential increased
lighting can provide in showcasing
Niagara to visitors from throughout the
"The Illumination Board is
proud of the role we have played in the
tourism industry and of the efforts we
have made in creating a lasting
Niagara Falls for our visitors,"
Diodati, Mayor of the
Niagara Falls, Ontario and Chair
of the Illumination Board. "By
undertaking this RFQ, we hope to learn
more about what can be done to further
shine a positive light on Niagara for
all our visitors, so they can truly
appreciate the beauty and majesty that
Falls at night."
This RFQ has been developed to
assist the Niagara Falls Illumination
Board in identifying experienced,
capable and qualified lighting firms to
provide information on how the lighting
of both the Canadian Horseshoe and
American Falls can be improved or
enhanced. Based on the submissions
received, firms must demonstrate
expertise in the lighting selection
design, construction technology and
successful implementation of similar
projects in other jurisdictions. This
RFQ will also be used to pre-qualify
firms for any subsequent RFP that may be
issued with respect to the enhancement
of the illumination of both the Canadian
and American Falls. Those interested in
participating in the Request for
Qualifications process, can obtain more
information and register via the MERX
procurement database at:
Established in 1925, The
Niagara Falls Illumination Board is made
up of representatives from the
Niagara Falls Ontario, the
Niagara Falls, New York, Ontario
Power Generation Inc., The
New York State
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic
Preservation and The Niagara Parks
Commission. It is the Illumination
Board's responsibility and mandate to
finance and maintain the nightly
illumination of both the Horseshoe and
RICHARD "DICK" MANN
1933 - 2014
Dick was one of two light masters for the Niagara Falls
He worked for 33 years before passing away on May 7th 2014
following a brief illness. He was a dedicated and loyal employee.
Dick was a special person and he will be missed by all.
On May 21st 2014 the Niagara Falls Illumination Board erected a bronze
plaque on the wall
of the illumination building light control room
dedicated to the service of long time employees -
Pete Gordon & Richard Mann
The plaque is dated 2012
(two years and a lifetime too late)
of Niagara Falls
American Falls & Bridal Veil Falls
Niagara Falls State Park
January 30th 2014
This page is dedicated to
Mr. Pete Gordon and Mr. Dick Mann
Peter and Dick are employed as Light Operators for the Niagara Falls
Illumination Board with a combined 78 years of dedicated and loyal service.
Peter Gordon is 79 years old and in 2010 celebrates his 50th year of service.
Dick Mann is 77 years old and in 2010 celebrates his 28th year of service.
Both men are the
unheralded individuals who on an alternating nightly basis of
every day of every year, no matter the weather, have thrilled hundreds of millions of people
from all over the world with their commitment and talents.
They are the
artists who paint the largest and most famous canvass in the world with the
colours of the rainbow - the Falls of Niagara.
The nightly Illumination of Niagara Falls is arguably the
most famous and influential attraction other than the Falls
themselves. It is an attraction that has no admission and no
thank you to Peter Gordon and Dick Mann for
allowing a glimpse into their respective jobs
and backgrounds. Each of these two men are
remarkably knowledgeable, friendly and
dedicated. They are passionate about their jobs.
This passion translates each and every night in
their ability to light up the Falls of Niagara
in a kaleidoscope of colours to the delight of
each and every visitor. Interestingly, they are
for the most part the invisible and unrecognized
part of a world renown attraction. It is an
attraction that on a nightly basis is viewed in
amazement by millions of people each year, yet
is the most mysterious and intriguing of all
Niagara Falls attractions. With limited
exceptions, the public has no access to the
Illumination Building nor have they had an
opportunity to meet Peter and Dick.
Meet Pete Gordon and Dick Mann - the men behind the Lights
(click above link)
The Bridal Veil Falls
Table Rock Illumination
Icy American Falls Illuminated
March 3rd 2014
The Summer of 1860, Mr. Blackwell of
England proposed the Illumination of the Falls in honour of the upcoming visit of
the Prince of Wales.
Using two hundred (200) Bengal Lights, he arranged sixty
(60) in a row below the high bank on the Canadian shoreline aimed at the
American Falls. Blackwell placed another sixty (60) lights under the Table Rock and the
remaining eighty (80) lights behind the sheet of water at the Horseshoe Falls.
At 10 p.m. on September 14th 1860, the Falls
of Niagara were illuminated for the first time in history in the presence of the
Prince of Wales. Although successful, Blackwell's method of illumination wasn't
In the late 1860's, calcium
"torpedo" lights were utilized to illuminate portions of the Niagara gorge at
The Manchester Guardian - October 3, 1860
Niagara Falls illuminated
The special correspondent of the Times gives an interesting
description of the scene at Niagara on the occasion of the visit of
the Prince of Wales:-"the Prince's first view of the cataracts was
on Friday night, when he saw them as no man had ever seen them
before, and as they will probably never be seen again-he saw the
falls of Niagara illuminated. At the first idea it seems about as
feasible to light up the Atlantic as these great outpourings of Lake
Erie, and Mr. Blackwell, when he started the idea, was looked on as
well meaning and all that, but chimerical to use the mildest term.
Mr. Blackwell, however persevered, and had some 200 Bengal lights
made of the largest size which it was possible to manufacture. About
20 of these were placed in a row under the cliffs, beneath Clifton
House, and facing the American fall: 20 more were placed under table
rock, and 20 more behind the sheet of water itself, the entrance to
which from the Canadian side I have already described. At 10 o'clock
at night they were all lit and her affect was something grand,
magical, and brilliant beyond all power of words to portray. In an
instant the whole mass of water, glowing as if incandescent, the
intense light, seemed turned to molten silver. From behind the fall
the light shone with such vivid brilliancy that the waters
immediately before it looked like a sheet of crystal glass, a
cascade of diamonds, every head and stream in which leapt and
sparkled and spread the glare over the whole scene, like a river of
The boiling rapids underneath dimly reflected back the vivid gleam
as from a mirror, lighting up the trees and rocks and all the wild
torn chasm through which the rapids pour, and showing out the old
gray ruins of table rock like a huge dilapidated tower. The smoke,
too rose in thick dense masses, spreading upward over the cataracts
in a luminous cloud that it seemed as if Niagara was in a blaze from
base to summit. But all the grandeur and beauty seemed as nothing to
the effect produced when the lights were changed from white to red.
Niagara seemed turned to blood in color, but so bright, so lurid in
its deep effulgence that a river of seething, roaring, hellish fire
seems to have taken the place in an instant of these cold, stern,
eternal falls. None could look upon this scene, the huge fiery
blood-red mass, dark-looking and clotted in the center, without a
feeling of awe. You could not speak, so sublime were it's terrors,
nor move your gaze from the blazing cauldron underneath the falls,
where the river seemed in its frothy red foam like boiling blood.
His Royal highness walked quietly out on table rock and saw the
whole of this grand scene to the best advantage."
In 1879, Niagara Falls was again illuminated
for the Royal visit of Princess Louise and her husband , the Marquis of Lorne - Governor
General of Canada. It was the first time in history that the Falls of Niagara
were illuminated by use of electricity.
The Brush Electric Company of Cleveland, Ohio
used arc lights to illuminate the Falls. A water wheel was located in the rapids
upstream of the American Falls. It was connected to a dynamo type generator
capable of producing 36 horsepower of electricity to sixteen arc lights. Each
light produced 2,000 candlepower for an overall total of 32,000 candlepower.
Twelve (12) of the lights were utilized to light Prospect Park while the remaining
four (4) lights were positioned at the base of the American Falls.
The Brush light system was only used for one
Chicago Tribune - October 3, 1879
How Niagara Looks by Electric Light
The illumination of Niagara Falls on the American shore by means of
the electric light has now given to this far-famed scenery a doubly
attractive aspect. Science by this appliance eclipses even the
effects produced by art, and the fantastic display of color through
suitable glasses surpasses the most gorgeous tints the painter may
throw upon his canvas.
The falls, from the terrace of Prospect Park, appear now on a dark
night under the rays of a red electric light like an immense
swiftly-moving flood of dark red fiery lava, which as quickly
changes by turn of the hand of man stationed at the revolving glass
in front of the burner into one of bright quicksilver, or again when
alternating colors are placed before the dazzling electric flame, as
a huge compact of moving rainbow.
The foam and spray at the pit of the cascade which the daytime
visitor never tires to gaze upon are no longer spray and mist under
this nocturnal fairy transformation, but fiery clouds, amid which
the rays of the powerful light play with magical effect, somewhat
resembling, though more intense, the wondrous phosphorescence of the
ocean on a sultry, storm-portending night.
The many pleasing small fountains which embellished the grounds of
Prospect Park itself throw, for once, in reality, as it were,
brilliant showers of silvery spray when exposed to the dazzling
glare of any of the nearby electric flames. The most enchanting
pyrotechnic displays of the Chinese art are but little shadows in
comparison with this spectacle. At will myriads of tiny drops maybe
turned either into showers of flashing rubies or sapphires, almost
to intense in their splendor, and painful to the eye, through the
intense contrast with the pitch black background afforded by the
dark mazes of the shrubbery and trees of the park.
This is the effect of about only a dozen of these lights. Their
weird look could be enhanced beyond calculation if the entire vast
scenery of the grand cataract could be lighted up the whole distance
from the American to the Canadian shore by means of a few additional
batteries placed upon rafts anchored near the foot of the Horseshoe
Such an illumination would eclipse the magical wonders of all the
traditional Eastern fairy scenes. They would pale into
insignificance before these brilliant hues called into life by the
wind of modern science, and if such a display could be viewed on a
dark night from a birds-eye view standpoint, the charmed gazer might
readily conceive of their resemblance to those antediluvian gigantic
out-breaks of fiery level floods, the still imposing ruins of which
now confront the visitor to the cliffs of Staffa or the Giant's
Causeway. There is no reason why such novel treats on a small scale
could not be initiated with advantage elsewhere, and give with less
cost more satisfaction than evanescent and costly fireworks.
For the rest, there have been few changes to note since last year,
save the successful introduction of the electric light at Prospect
Park, then in the process of the erection.
The effect of the illumination on the water at night is
extraordinarily beautiful. The ridges of the Rapids are made to
shine like burnished silver above the black groundwork of the
pouring water. The shimmering white falls are changed from blood-red
to yellow, blue, green, and all the other hues of the rainbow, by
the use of colored glass screens in front of a light stationed at a
proper distance, and by the same means the playing fountains within
the park are made prismatic. Revolving lights directed across the
chasm bring out the various points of interest down the River on the
Canadian side and on goat and little islands in panoramic
Other lights suspended above the trees spread over the grass and the
foliage a radiance as clear, but softer and less fierce, than that
of the sun.
The greatest single thing they've done here this season is to light
up the falls with electric lights. The apparatus is placed in
Prospect Park every fair evening, and the hotels on the Canadian
side reap all the benefits of it, for it is only from there that the
illumination can be seen at its best. A great many persons cross the
river at dusk, and a great many others visit the park to see the
effect. Several powerful electric lights are brought to bear upon
the falls, but the result is disappointing. The largest lights are
so ridiculously out of proportion with the immensity of the falls
that the grand effect which might be expected cannot be obtained.
When somebody puts 50 of the strongest lights on the Canadian side
he will make a good illumination. But nothing short of this will do
it, and this will hardly be done, because it would be impossible to
fence it in in charge an admission fee. The lights at present used
to eliminate the seething pool at the foot of the American fall and
glanced diagonally across the face of both falls, lighting up
occasional patches here and there. One of the prettiest of facts is
made by putting colored glass before the lights. This sends a
torrent of red or blue or green water over the falls, and turns it
at the foot of a mass of brilliant spray. The electric lights burn
until 10 o'clock, and that part of Niagara Falls is as bright as
day. When they go out, the falls disappear, nothing is left of them
but the roar in rumble in a little drifting spray.
In 1892, Frank LaBlond, a co-owner of the
Maid of the Mist Boat Company ordered a 4,000 candlepower search light to be
focused upon the American Falls from the Maid of the Mist landing along the
Canadian shore. He planned to use coloured gelatin plates to give the American
Falls the effect of having different colours.
In 1901, during the Pan American Exposition
in Buffalo, New York, the Falls were illuminated with spotlights to attract
attention of visitors at the Exposition.
One of the searchlights was situated beside
the Michigan Central Railway along the high bank at Falls View. Power for this
particular light was provided from the International Railway Company in the park
In 1907, William D'Arcy Ryan of the General
Electric Company of Schenectady, New York designed a new light system to
illuminate the Falls. Thirty-six (36) new lights had a strength of 1,115,000,000
candlepower were mounted along the Ontario Power Company access road immediately
north of the Ontario Power Generating Station near the base of the gorge. They
were aimed at the American Falls. Coloured gelatin film was placed across the
face of the light to project colours upon the American Falls. Men were paid 50¢ each to stand beside the
lights and change the coloured gelatin films.
The Falls were not normally lighted on
Sundays. There were several exceptions. On October 9th 1907, the Falls were
illuminated during a visit by the Duke of Cornwall and again on October 18th
1919, during a visit of the Prince of Wales.
In 1920, lights were installed on the roof of
the Ontario Power Generating Station located at the base of the Niagara Gorge
just north of the Horseshoe Falls. Additional lights were mounted on the Table
Rock House. This allowed for illumination of the Horseshoe Falls. The lights
were strategically located to conceal their location.
During the early 1920's, a group of
businessmen from Niagara Falls, New York formed a group that became known as the
"generators". They were dedicated ensuring the continued illumination
of Niagara Falls and to improve upon the lighting system. This group began
lobbying officials of both American and Canadian Governments. For their efforts,
this group received a commitment from both governments to maintain the
illumination lights. The "generators" group had raised $58,000 for the
purchase and installation of twenty-four new arc lights. Each light was
thirty-six (36) inches in diameter.
On February 24th 1925, the Niagara Falls
Illumination Board was formed. It had ten original representatives. Niagara
Falls, New York had six members, Niagara Falls, Ontario had two members and the
Niagara Falls Queen Victoria Park Commission had two members. The board had an
initial budget of $28,000 to ensure the management, operation and maintenance of
the illumination lights.
The power to supply the illumination lights
was being provided for free by the Ontario Power Company (OPC).
In 1938, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board
was increased to include two members of the hydro company.
New lights are mounted in a battery (or
row) on the Ontario Power Company water surge tank which is located next to the
Refractory (Victoria Park) Restaurant just north of the Horseshoe Falls. This
allowed lighting of both the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls from the same
location. Each light used 4,500 watts and were
originally built to search the sky for enemy aircraft over Britain during World War II.
Building Control Room
On May 25th 1925, the new lights mounted on
the Ontario Power Company surge tank was lit for the first time. A Festival of
Lights was planned to coincide with the official dedication of this light
The official ceremony took place on June 8th
1925. It included a light parade in Niagara Falls, New York followed by an
International ceremony in the middle of the Upper Steel Arch Bridge before the
lights were turned on to illuminate the Falls with many spectators looking
The twenty-four (24) spotlights were operated by a crew
of three men. Colour gelatin films were manually slid into place in front of each light. Each light produced 55 million candlepower. The series of lights generated
a total of 1,320,000,000 candlepower.
In 1951, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board
negotiated a new cost sharing agreement to allow for the continued illumination
of the Falls and lighting system upgrades. In this new agreements costs were
allocated as follows:
Niagara Falls, New York pays 50%
Niagara Falls, Ontario pays 6.87%
Niagara Parks pays 25.55%
Ontario Hydro pays 17.58%
In 1953, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board
was increased by two members. The new representatives were from the Niagara
Frontier - New York State Parks Commission.
On September 1st 1984, a new cost sharing
agreement among the members of the Niagara Falls Illumination Board was signed.
The new agreement stipulated that the cost of power used by the board be paid by
Ontario Hydro (Ontario Power Generation) and deducted from any total operating
budget and the balance be divided equally among the following four participating
agencies namely the:
City of Niagara Falls, New York
The Niagara Parks Commission;
The Niagara Frontier State Park Commission;
City of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
In 1990, the Niagara Falls Illumination Board was incorporated. An amendment was
also made to an earlier agreement related to the membership of the board to
include Ontario Hydro (now known as Ontario Power Generation as a member with
equal representation and financial responsibilities.
Today this illumination project continues to
be administered and funded by a five member International Board known as the
Niagara Falls Illumination Board Incorporated. Board members currently consist of
the City of Niagara Falls Ontario
the City of Niagara Falls New York
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
the Niagara Parks Commission
Ontario Power Generation (Niagara Group)
Each member of this group of five contribute
approximately $39,000 per year to fund the yearly illumination and to save for
future lighting replacement/improvements.
On June 20th 1958, twenty (20) new carbon arc
lights were installed by the General Electric Company of Canada at a cost of
$153,000. Ten lights were aimed at the Horseshoe Falls and five lights were
focused on the American Falls. In addition, two lights were aimed at Goat Island
and two lights were focused on the Upper Rapids. The new lights each emitted
4,200,000 candlepower generating a total of 84 million candlepower. The new system included white lights and a combination of
fifteen possible colours.
Colors the Illumination lights use are
white, red, amber, green, and blue.
In 1970, three (3) Xenon lights were
installed on the lower river bank to illuminate the Bridal Veil Falls (Luna Falls).
In 1974, eighteen (18) Xenon gas
spotlights were put into use. Each light is 30 inches (76cm) in diameter and each generate
In 1979, three Xenon lights were
positioned just south of the Canadian Niagara Power intake and shine on the plume of mist
from the Falls. Currently, these three lights are no longer utilized since
area hotels complained of the lights shining into nearby hotel rooms.
A battery of three Xenon lights were built to shine directly on
the American Falls from a location along the Ontario Power Company access road
on the Canadian shore. Both satellite locations are operated by remote
Great Gorge Ice Bridge
By the mid 1990's, the Illumination Lights
were in need of a modernization overhaul. Complaints had been received that the
current lights were too weak and ineffective to properly illuminate the Falls.
In 1995 the Niagara Falls Illumination Board
hired lighting expert and consultant, Linus MacDonald to redesign and improve
the illumination of the Falls. MacDonald was the lighting engineer for
CFTO Television in Toronto a part of the CTV Television Network. In this
capacity, Linus was responsible for the special effects lighting for earlier
television productions covering the New Year's Eve party in Queen Victoria Park
broadcast on the CTV Network.
Linus MacDonald redesigned, retro-fitted the
aluminum light projection shells and installed a
new, efficient and modern lighting system that continues in service today.
MacDonald selected the OSRAM 4,000 watt lamp
bulb because it was best suited to highlight the illumination of the Falls.
Although OSRAM builds bulbs up to 10,000 watts which would turn the night time
waterfalls into daylight, there wouldn't be the ambience and colours that goes
along with the softer illumination. According to MacDonald there is a stark
contrast between lighting the Falls and Illuminating the Falls. Lighting the
Falls would be much brighter and harsher and much less photogenic and eye
appealing. Interestingly, the current intensity of illumination was specifically
chosen to be far superior than it's predecessors yet more photogenic and eye
appealing. The current illumination configuration is best viewed from a distance
rather than close-up in order to obtain the best possible visual impact.
The center of the Horseshoe Falls is not
illuminated because of the waterborne mist that rising from the base of the
falls, high into the air above. The water molecules of the rising mist form an
impenetrable wall that reflects the light and does not allow the light to
penetrate to the waterfalls behind it.
As part of a 1997 upgrade, work began
in the Spring to replace old illumination lights with a new 21 light system that will
allow 60 - 70 percent more illumination. At a cost of $150,000, the first ten lights were
replaced during that year. The new lights use only 4,000 watts - low voltage
illumination lights generate an enormous 8.2 billion candlepower. Each bulb is rated at
1,100 hours or one season and cost approximately $1,400 each to replace. The
lamp bulbs are supplied by OSRAM GmbH of Germany, one of the world's leading lamp
manufacturers. OSRAM produces state-of-the-art lighting solutions that light up
people's lives all over the world. The new lamps produce twice as much light as
the previous lighting installations and consume 10 per cent less power.
The remaining eleven
lights were replaced in 1998. The old lights were to be sold or used for spare parts.
In December 1997, five more lights were
replaced with the much brighter and more economical new lights.
The illumination lights have operated continuously since their
inception in the late 1800's till now. Throughout the years there have been only
several interruptions. During periods of WWI & WWII the illumination lights
were not turned on. The other interruption occurred in January 1938, when a
major ice jam shut down the Ontario Power Company Generating Station at the base
of the gorge. The lights remained off until the power station resumed
Today illumination of the Falls of
Niagara occurs every night throughout the year.
The Osram Xenon Light Bulb
used to Illuminate the Falls
each bulb is 4,000 watts and project 500 million candlepower
Linus MacDonald continues to maintain all the
illuminate the Falls of Niagara each and every night.
Each of the Osram Xenon Light Bulbs used to
Illuminate the Falls are replaced yearly and have lasted 1,300+ hours. Each
4,000 watt bulb must be handled with extreme caution and only by an expert. The
internal pressure within each lamp when cold contains 7½ times the normal
atmospheric pressure and when hot, the pressure within the lamp exceeds 14 times
the normal atmospheric pressure. These internal pressures make the lamps
extremely explosive and dangerous to handle. When handling the lamps, MacDonald
using a factory felt like wrapping when carrying the lights. The wrapping is
designed to limit the high velocity shards of glass if the lamp breaks while
being handled or repaired. In addition, MacDonald wears a ballistic vest and
full face protective shield while working with the lamps.
The Niagara Falls Illumination Board
currently employ two operators on staff to conduct the nightly illumination of
the Falls. The light show is controlled by a
single operator, who by remote control changes colour of the lights by changing the combination of the
coloured gelatins in front of each light. The standard colour of each light
projector is white.
The entire operation is run from a small
control panel in an elongated room overlooking the illumination lights with a
vista of the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. The operator will change the
lights every five to ten minutes.
The Old Control Panel and Rectifier
Until the autumn of 2009, the operator changed
the light colours by manually turning a series of four colour
coded (red, blue, green, yellow) round shaped toggle switches for each of the
twenty-one lights. With each turn of any of these switches, a large coloured
panel (or any combination of the four panels) housed in the section above the
actual light drops down in front of the lights or rises as the case maybe in
order to create the rainbows of colour shining upon the Falls.
In late 2009, the rectifier/control room
was modernized. New modern and much smaller rectifiers were installed. These
rectifiers are used to transform alternating current to direct current for the
light projectors. The former light control panel was replaced with modern
computerized "touch screen" activated screens. Touching the colours on the new
computer screens automatically changes the gelatin colour panels in the light
The four primary gelatin colour panels (red,
blue, purple, amber) are secured to 4 feet by four feet square metal panels
within each projector light. A mixing panel allows the operators to mix a
combination of one or more colour gelatin panels creating additional colours of
green and orange. It takes less than 15 seconds to change the colour
of any light. The gelatin colour panels are replaced approximately four times a
year and cost about $25 each.
The new computerized "Touch
Screen" activated projection light control panels
There is no automated program that dictates
the colour sequences that shine upon the Falls. The operator working creates the
kaleidoscope of colours by calling upon their experience and artistic talents.
The operator also controls a battery of three Xenon lights
control, that were built to shine directly on
the American Falls from a location along the former Ontario Power Company access road
on the Canadian shore.
Power is supplied by the City of Niagara
Falls (Ontario) Hydro Commission. It is estimated that the cost of illuminating
the Falls including the services of an operator is approximately $85 per hour.
Illumination Lights Battery
|January 1st -
||5:00 p.m. -
|February 1st -
||6:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
|March 1st -
||7:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
|March 8th -
||8:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
|April 1st -
||8:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
|May 1st -
||9:00 p.m. -
|August 14th -
||8:30 p.m. -
|October 1st -
||7:00 p.m. -
|November 1st -
||5:00 p.m. - Midnight
||5:00 p.m. - 1:00
During the month of March and April
the Illumination of the Falls is extended until Midnight every Friday,
Saturday and Sunday
Table Rock & Horseshoe Falls Illuminated
March 3rd 2014
FALLS THUNDER ALLEY NAVIGATOR
Date last updated:
July 05, 2015
The preceding locations and facts
about them are but a few of many famous sites & attractions to be found in Niagara
Falls. The best of it is FREE to see...so think of Niagara Falls when planning your next
vacation. If you have questions of a current or historical nature about the Niagara Falls
area or suggestions feel free to e-mail
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