Montréal en Lumière
The 24th edition of Montréal en Lumière, presented by Loto-Québec in collaboration with Scotiabank, takes over Quartier des Spectacles until 5 March 2023. The glowing 1000-ft-long aerial skating loop is a unique multimedia experience that engages all senses.
Elevated 2.5 meters above the ground, skaters are treated to a view of the urban panorama, enhanced by large-scale video projections on the facades of surrounding structures, including the Wilder Building and the UQAM President Kennedy Pavilion. Hundreds of LED tube lights add enchantment to the icy course, while a state-of-the-art sound system disseminates a playlist compiled just for the event.
Last year the Skating Loop, produced with major support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) and Tourisme Montréal, attracted nearly 25,000 Montreal skaters. The Loop is surrounded by heated oases, a chalet for putting on skates, as well as a covered, heated terrace at the SAQ Bistro.
The Skating Loop was created in 2022 after being selected among a call for projects initiated by the Fonds de maintien des actifs stratégiques touristiques (FMAST) of Tourisme Montréal, supported by the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec.
Jacques Primeau, Chief Executive Officer of Montréal en Lumière, initiated the project, which has since developed unparalleled expertise in Nordic-context events and illuminated animation. Montréal d’hier et d’hiver, a work by artist Karine Lanoie-Brien, illustrates the city’s hockey history in the form of large-scale projections around the Skating Loop, using archival images from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to document the long love affair between Montreal and skating.
“In 2022, we knew that the City was going to open a large new skating rink on Esplanade Tranquille. The idea of the Skating Loop was to create a strong and dramatic symbol that would celebrate skating as emblematic of Montreal. We are extremely proud to offer Montrealers and their families this unique creation that brings residents together, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to this exceptional outdoor rink. From concept to realization, it required extraordinary involvement from both creators and craftspeople,” says Primeau.
Bringing a project as elaborate and audacious as the Skating Loop to life presented its share of challenges. The team wanted the installation, which would occupy the entire Place des Festivals, to have a positive visual impact, not only for skaters on the ice, but also for people admiring it from outside the rink.
The design of this impressive aerial structure had to also support the weight of bystanders, as well as 4 inches of ice, coolant…and an 8,300-pound Zamboni. Additionally, the ice would require frequent resurfacing, given that the Skating Loop attracted an impressive number of skaters in 2022: between 250 and 300 people per hour took advantage of this unique winter experience.
Completely reimagined and exhilarating, this multimedia installation illuminates the city center in the middle of winter, enabling citizens to reclaim public space. This year, the Skating Loop is one of the flagship activities of the 2023 edition of the Montréal en Lumière festival.
Project: Skating Loop, part of Montréal en Lumière programming
Place: Place des Festivals, Montréal
Inaugurated: February 2022
Concept: Jacques Primeau, General Manager, Montréal en Lumière
Production Executive: Louise Laliberté, Vice-President of Production and Business Development, Montréal en Lumière
Design: Mélanie Tessier, Director, Experience Design, Montréal en Lumière
Lighting Design: Bruno Rafie, Lighting Consultant, Montréal en Lumière
Production: Vincent Testard, Director, Production Operations, Montréal en Lumière
Suppliers: Nicolas Paulette, Project Manager, Échafauds Plus
Ice maintenance: Loue Froid