Kingston Ontario City Hall Gets Architectural Lighting Upgrade for Canada’s 150 Year Anniversary

The city of Kingston, Ontario, Canada, wanted to highlight the historic City Hall building’s beautiful architecture as part of Kingston’s plan to celebrate the 150-year anniversary of Canada’s independence. The mayor’s office turned to LightInForm Design Inc. of Ottawa and the firm’s principal designer Bruce Meiklejohn along with Garry Stewart of SNC Lavalin’s Ottawa office for electrical engineering.

Meiklejohn worked closely with the City of Kingston; Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Group’s Ottawa office; Christie Lites in Ottawa; M.H. Electric Co. in Kingston; and Waterman sales in Ottawa.

LightInForm Devised Lighting Scheme and Performed Photometric Analysis

Waterman serves as a manufacturer’s agent in eastern Ontario and western Quebec for lighting, control and electrical products representing more than 40 companies. Waterman supplied a range of lighting products and electrical and controls to help the design team illuminate Kingston’s historic center. LightInForm devised the lighting layouts, and also performed the photometric analysis of the premises. SNC provided the electrical engineering support for the project.

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Acclaim lighting used for Kingston, Ontario Canada City Hall

Acclaim lighting used for Kingston, Ontario Canada City Hall

“The client wanted to provide brilliant color to the building for special occasions while allowing white light for other days,” said Meiklejohn. “We selected products from Acclaim Lighting based on their ability to provide precise color and white light performance with long-term durability and integrity.”

The lighting system needed to provide both a color wash for events and static white light to emphasize the historic architecture of the building. The team wanted to use the latest lighting technology to ensure efficient, long-term performance, and the project also had to be completed under tight deadlines.


The team needed to combine static white light with color mixing, and they devised a mock-up to decide optimal fixture locations for both the permanent white lighting and the dynamic color mixing technology. They employed fixture optics to deliver a uniform wash of light with some shadowing around key architectural details.

The plan was to emphasize parts of the building architecture such as the long rectangular three-story façade with slightly projecting end pavilions, and a large central drum and dome. Additionally, the plan also intended to use the LED lighting to emphasizes exterior detailing, such as inset windows and doors, blind arcade moldings around the windows, wide plain pilasters and parapets on the end pavilions, and a strong cornice line with dentils.

Wireless DMX-enabled Fixtures Used

To meet the tight deadlines, Meiklejohn and Stewart worked with Waterman to specify wireless control and wireless-enabled DMX fixtures to accelerate the controls installation and luminaire commissioning without requiring the time-consuming and costly infrastructure enhancement usually needed for a heritage building. The wireless controls also allow easy central control of all adjacent project sites.

The design team specified DMX/RDM splitters and Aria Wireless DMX transceivers from Acclaim Lighting, and Unison Mosaic Tessera controller and ETC DMX/RDM gateways from ETC Visual Environment Technologies, Mazomanie, Wisconsin.

Acclaim Lighting’s Aria Wireless DMX system is a compact, IP 66 rated transceiver that can act as either a transmitter or receiver. Aria Wireless DMX reportedly provides transmission up to 2600 feet line of sight and 300 feet between obstructions and walls.

The Unison® Mosaic Tessera Controller handles both the complex lighting and lighting devices of all sorts LEDs, but also manages impromptu show-control, other accessories and non-lighting effects.

Color Mixing

The lighting scheme required RGBW color mixing including saturation, color blend and smooth transitions with a range of options. Floodlighting of the façade required about 5,000 lumen output. The designers selected products based on RGBW and optical performance related to color blending and uniformity. The designers worked with local area representatives and a commissioning team from LED lighting manufacturer Acclaim lighting.

LED Luminaires Used in the Project

The designers used several products from Acclaim lighting for illuminating the front façade of the City Hall Building, as well as provide light around the three venues including the following:

  • The team chose the Acclaim’s Pixel Graze RGBW, an IP66 high-power LED fixture with quad-color mixing or 3000K for the white light source) or dynamic white options. The Pixel Graze RGBW was specified for the end pilasters on the front façade.
  • They selected the Dyna Drum SO RGBW to wash the front façade at a 20-degree angle. The Dyna Drum SO RGBW, high-output, IP66 rated, LED flood fixture featrues an adjustable yoke, an on-board digital display, and a built-in receiver for the Aria wireless DMX system.
  • The team also selected the Dyna Drum SO RGBW with diffusion gel to illuminate the front façade central portico, for the side façade wash, the dome wash, and the Springer Market Square Plaza wash.
  • Acclaim’s Dyna Graze HO RGBW linear fixture illuminated the dome’s interior. The IP66 rated luminaire reportedly offers smooth linear dimming with ELV modules.
  • The group specified the Dyna Flood XT QW-RGBW floodlight to deliver a 70-degree wash to the back wall behind the dome clock faces and upper belfry. The LED flood light features an adjustable head and internal line voltage dimmable driver.
  • Acclaim’s Aqua Drum HO RGBW, a high output IP68 submersible, LED flood fixtures were placed to highlight underside of arch; the fountains; and at the inner-perimeter, knee-high wall.
  • For image projection and custom gobos on the façades and at Springer Market Square the designers chose Martin Exterior Projection 500.

“The lighting design delivers fully programmable color changing and white light for architectural enhancement, allowing the city to tell the story of celebrations and special events through static and dynamic lighting and image projection,” said Meiklejohn. “We were able to create a distinct and unified lighting scheme for these high profile civic structures and public spaces while operating under tight timelines and with client objectives informing the installed design.”