Capital Illumination Plan 2017—2027

Illumination Plan for the core of the Capital
Illumination Plan for the core of the Capital

A lighting master plan enhances the beauty, safety and enjoyment of a city after dark, and shapes the identity of a place. It includes recommendations related to:

  • Urban environment: Access and wayfinding for public spaces, public safety and comfort, and the protection of natural areas
  • Artistic lighting: The creation of ambiances, specialty lighting, colour temperature, and temporary light installations
  • Energy savings: The management of investment costs, programming for energy savings and the maintenance of lighting infrastructure
  • Natural environment: The reduction of light pollution, night biotope protection, environmental footprint of the global lighting system and recycling sources

Our ten-year illumination plan

To enrich the nighttime environment and experience of the heart of the Capital, we are developing a ten-year illumination plan. Implementation of the final plan will start in 2017, the year of Canada’s 150th anniversary. 

It will aim to achieve the following:

  • enhance the Capital’s nighttime beauty and visitor experience
  • promote the use of light-based technologies to reduce energy use and foster sustainability
  • support existing planning, heritage conservation and urban design strategies
  • highlight buildings, monuments, streets and public spaces that have unique architectural attributes, and de-emphasize some buildings and structures that may be over-lit
  • coordinate building and street lighting to improve urban nightscapes
  • guide stakeholders in designing and implementing illumination

These eight principles will help guide us as we make this vision a reality.

Our project team

We have retained the services of urban planning and lighting experts to assist in the development of this initiative.

Our partners

We are working with stakeholders who play a key role in lighting the core of the Capital. 

  • Federal partners: Parks Canada, Canadian Heritage, Public Services and Procurement Canada
  • National cultural institutions: National Arts Centre, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History
  • Municipal partners: City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau
  • Private sector: Business Improvement Areas (BIA)
  • Energy distribution agencies: Hydro Ottawa
  • General public and interest groups: Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict, Safe Wings Ottawa

Our inspiration

Urban lighting is increasingly recognized as a key strategy for innovative and smart cities around the world. The following are a few leading examples:

  • Lyon, France (and its Festival of Lights) is considered by many lighting professionals as the international birthplace of urban lighting.
  • Ghent, Belgium is one of the most honoured of all cities for its approach to its nocturnal landscapes.
  • Copenhagen, Denmark is developing a poetic, subtle and sensitive approach to illumination. 






Public engagement

We’ve taken steps to educate stakeholders on the meaning of a lighting master plan and to ask for feedback.

  • 2016 - As the nighttime environment is best understood and examined on foot and in person, we asked the public for their thoughts and ideas during a series of night walks.
  • 2015 - We invited stakeholders to take part in the Capital Illumination Workshop to discuss the mission and objectives of Illumination Plan for the core area of the Capital and identify specific sites that should be illuminated. We heard that illumination should harmonize with nature and take a slightly different approach in winter than in the warmer months.
  • 2014 – We introduced residents to the elements of creating a meaningful and successful lighting master plan for cities. 

We will use the ideas and comments gathered during the public consultations to develop a draft concept for the plan. The draft Illumination Plan for the core area of the Capital will be ready for your feedback this fall.

Join the conversation

Join the conversation on TwitterFacebook and Instagram with #CapitalIllumination
See some of the images we received from the public.