The Hill's Sound and Light Show

Parliamentary correspondents, like yours truly, who work for broadcasters love Parliament Hill because there are so many terrific settings for our ‘on-camera’ bits at the end of our reports. But we are forced off the Hill in the summertime by the National Capital Commission’s ‘Sound and Light Show’, an annual event that is super-popular with visiters though it is the bane of TV reporters.

For this show, the Centre Block of Parliament is, essentially, the screen for this show. Images are projected on the entire thing, right up the whole height of the Peace Tower, while stirring music and voice-overs are played. It’s very dramatic — even if it makes Parliament Hill too noisy for my ‘on-cameras’.

So, if you’re planning to visit Ottawa in July and August, here’s the details:

The National Capital Commission (NCC) is pleased to announce that the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill entitled Canada: the Spirit of a Country gets underway Thursday, July 5, 2007, for the summer season.

The Sound and Light Show is a 30-minute production, which uses spectacular lighting effects, giant images and a rich tapestry of words, music and sounds to tell the story of Canada, a nation of communicators.

This bilingual show is presented free of charge seven evenings a week (weather permitting) until September 9, 2007. Hours are as follows: from July 5 to August 6, 2007, at  9:30 pm and 10:30 pm, and from August 7 to September 9, 2007, at 9 pm and 10 pm. Bleacher seating is available and can accommodate approximately 500 spectators. 

Canada: the Spirit of a Country, created by AVH Live Communications, a Toronto based production company, features a stunning musical score (composed by Glenn Morley, multiple Gemini and Genie award winner) as well as special lighting effects and stunning image projections on the Peace Tower and the Centre Block.

The NCC has captivated audiences for 20 years with its sound and light performances. Particularly popular with out-of-town visitors who, in 2005 represented 70% of attendees, these free performances offer the perfect evening activity. During the 2006 season, more than 250,000 visitors attended the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill.

The show, by the way, is the same as it’s been for the last two summers and, to be honest, I’m surprised that “Canada’s New Government” hasn’t gotten around to ordering it changed for Canada: The Spirit of Country has a lot of Trudeau and Laurier in it and, if I recall, not a lot of Mulroney or Borden or even Macdonald  — although I think there’s a bit of Diefenbaker, in there.

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