As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017, the NCC will
deliver and start to implement a 10-year Capital Illumination Plan for
Ottawa–Gatineau that will use colour, specifically colour temperature,
to help reshape the National Capital Region’s night-time identity.
Ottawa, Ontario and the neighbouring city of Gatineau, Quebec,
constitute Canada’s Capital Region. Around one third of the project
area is a natural waterway bounded by a ceremonial route called
the Confederation Boulevard, which delineates ‘town and crown’,
the developing urban area and federal government space
respectively. Our vision is to use lighting and illumination to create
a cohesive, unified urban nightscape that celebrates the differences
and complementarity of both sides of the river.
In 2008, a Right of Way Lighting Policy was developed by the City of
Ottawa to streamline lighting across the city and make it more uniform.
Since then, however, the capital has developed and the night-time
environment has fallen into a state where there is lack of harmony. The
NCC is in charge of planning and coordinating planning. I served on a
committee with Public Services and Procurement Canada, which builds
on a lighting strategy for Parliament Hill developed by the late Philip
Gabriel of the firm Gabriel Mackinnon, and lighting consultant Howard
Brandston. With this in mind, we could see that we needed to consider
the whole capital and our national institutions and symbols.
One of our priorities is to give residents and visitors greater access to the
historic Ottawa River by subtly illuminating the shoreline on both sides
of the border. We will then move to the historical area that surrounds it,
followed by Confederation Boulevard. Completed in 2006, Confederation
Boulevard takes in some of Canada’s most important institutions, heritage
sites, monuments, parks and public spaces. Some national symbols within
this ring around the Ottawa River Basin will be highlighted at night-time,
while preserving and enhancing protected views.
The Capital Illumination Plan will enhance the skyline from the
The shade of things to come
Below: impressions of the capital’s illumination as it will appear from different directions
Christopher Hoyt, the National Capital Commission’s senior architect and project manager of the Capital Illumination Plan for
Ottawa–Gatineau, explains the role of colour temperature in delineating ‘town and crown’