The Jacques Cartier Bridge shone bright this 17th of May evening, with a stunning inaugural light show that dazzled a large audience. The show demonstrated the many possibilities open to the world’s first connected bridge. The interactive lighting work, Living Connections, was developed by a team of local creators and engineers as part of the official program for Montreal’s 375th anniversary and Canada’s 150th. The bridge illumination gives Montreal a new world-class visual signature.

After the 30-minute show marking the official launch of Living Connections, the bridge began its regular daily programming, which the public will be able to enjoy every night for the next ten years.

With this initiative, the Jacques Cartier Bridge lights up and comes to life every evening. The credit goes to intelligent programming that adapts to the seasons and the city’s energy. Activated by millions of human and natural connections, the bridge awakens at sunset and goes to sleep with the day’s first light. This ambitious, innovative new luminous signature is a tribute to one of Montreal’s architectural icons. Because of the evolving, networked and interactive content, the bridge is transformed into a barometer of Montreal life and energy – a world first!

Gilbert Rozon, the Commissioner for Celebrations of Montreal’s 375th anniversary, said, “We are incredibly proud to see this new symbol of Montreal! The illumination of the Jacques Cartier Bridge is one of the flagship projects for Montreal’s 375th anniversary, and the bridge is sure to become one of the world’s most photographed. Long live Montreal.”

Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal, said, “Montreal was illuminated in spectacular fashion yesterday evening, thanks to the Jacques Cartier Bridge, which will now become an even more powerful symbol of our city’s creativity and international stature. It is now a singular gateway to our beautiful city, and an important legacy of this 375th anniversary of Montreal’s founding. Long live Montreal.”

Éric Fournier, Partner and Executive Producer at Moment Factory, which led the group of multimedia and lighting firms that created the project, said, “We are very proud of this project, the result of an exceptional collaboration among several Montreal companies and talented individuals. For the next ten years, Living Connections will undoubtedly be a remarkable icon and light signature for our city, and an unparalleled showcase for Montreal creativity and engineering.”

Glen P. Carlin, CEO of The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated, said, “The illumination of the bridge is part of our vision for our structures. We want to make them more attractive and integrate them more fully with the city, making them emblematic structures for the community. Our Corporation is proud to have managed this major multidisciplinary project, which will be a beacon for Montreal and Canada for years to come.”

As the seasons change, so do the lights

The bridge changes with the seasons using a 365-colour calendar. Day after day, the heart of the bridge gradually shifts from a lively spring green to a radiant summer orange, a rich fall red, and finally an icy winter blue. As its colours change gently with the seasons, the bridge’s lights subtly mark the passage of time.

A reflection of Montreal’s energy

The bridge captures the pulse of Montreal life in real time. The intensity, speed and density of sparkles of light change depending on how often Montreal is mentioned on Twitter. As the bridge pulses with the city’s social conversations, it reflects Montreal’s energy. Every new tweet sent with Montreal-related hashtags, including #IlluminationMtl, #375MTL, #Montréal, #Mtl and #Mtlmoments, is captured by the bridge’s illumination system. The tweet is then transformed into a moving sparkle of light in the colour of the day. If the tweet is liked, the moving light expands. If it is retweeted, it accelerates. Otherwise, the moving glimmer of light disappears after a few moments.

Like clockwork

At first light, the bridge comes to life in a dance of lights, gradually revealing that day’s colour. Every hour at night, a series of 5-minute animated lighting sequences visually translate Montreal’s energy based on different types of daily data: the weather, traffic, news, major events, and more. The bridge is then taken over by luminous movement, coloured according to the hottest topic of the day in Montreal media: SOCIETY (red), ENVIRONMENT (green), TECHNOLOGY (light blue), BUSINESS (grey), SPORTS (blue), INSTITUTIONS (pink),CULTURE (purple).

At midnight, the bridge activates like an urban clock. It cycles through all 365 colours on its calendar, looking for the colour of the day. At the end of the night, the bridge’s framework goes dark. Only the turrets reaching high into the sky and the piers supporting the structure remain softly lit. Finally, at dawn, the bridge greets the city’s early risers. It is subtly illuminated with lights mimicking the colour of the sky in real time.

Living Connections was produced as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary and Montreal’s 375th, with the financial participation of the government of Canada, the government of Quebec, the Ville de Montréal and the Great Montrealers.

The project is managed by The Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Incorporated. Moment Factory is responsible for the concept, in collaboration with six Montreal-based lighting and multimedia studios: Ambiances Design Productions, ATOMIC3, Éclairage Public / Ombrages, Lucion Média, Réalisations and UDO Design. The engineers for the project are the WSP– AECOM consortium, and lighting systems were installed by Pomerleau.

Photo Credit : Moment Factory

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