Niagara Falls Light Show Gets $3 Million LED Update: The nightly spectacle of Niagara Falls lit up after dark just got more spectacular. A $3 million upgrade saw the installation of 1,400 new high-tech lights called luminaires that beam brighter and more vivid rainbows of light from Canada onto the famous waterfalls.
Mixed together, the separate red, green, blue and white LED units can illuminate the waterfalls against the night sky in endless combinations that range from subtle hues to deeply saturated colours. Perched on the upper level of an 1899 building known as “Illumination Tower,” the high-intensity system unveiled Dec. 1 replaced a bank of 21 spotlights, each 30 inches in diameter, that were equipped with coloured gels.
The illumination highlights the sections of Niagara known as American Falls and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The first major upgrade in 20 years has more than doubled the previous lighting levels and filled in gaps the old spotlights could not reach. Officials expect it will reduce energy consumption by 60 per cent.
The shorter the days, the longer the night light shows, meaning winter offers prime viewing. Visitors unwilling to brave the frigid air outdoors can watch from the windows of hotels and restaurants on the Canadian shore. The lights are on from 5 p.m. until midnight from November through January. For most of summer, they shine from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Nightly illumination began in 1925 with the formation of the Niagara Falls Illumination Board, whose members represent the cities of Niagara Falls, Ont., and Niagara Falls, N.Y., along with the Niagara Parks Commission, Niagara Falls State Park and Ontario Power Generation.
The board, whose organizations split the cost of the upgrade, has kept the lights on most nights since with a few exceptions. They were turned off during World War II, for example, to conserve power.
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