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Capital Illumination Plan

Ottawa, Ontario

Photo Credit: National Capital Commission


Research by: Samantha Miller

Edited by: Nicole Brekelmans

Case study compiled in 2019



Project:  Capital Illumination Plan

Type of Urban StrategyEcological Infrastructure 

Type of ProjectMaster plan / Lighting 

LocationOttawa & Gatineau, Ontario 

Date Designed/Planned: 2017

Construction Completed Goal: 2027


Senior Architect, Design and Land Use at the National Capital Commission:

Chris Hoyt

External Lighting Consultant:

Alain Guilhot (Alain Guilhot Lumière)

Landscape Architect:

Gérald Lajeunesse

Heritage Architect:

Georges Drolet (EVOQ Architecture)


The Capital Illumination Plan was approved by the Board of Directors on September 12, 2017. The concept is a long-term plan for the future, with a timeline that extends until 2027 and the implementation of the final plan already initiated. The Capital Illumination Plan represents the federal government's key statement on illuminating the core area of the National Capital region, including core parts of both Ottawa and Gatineau, and the Ottawa River. The Capital’s nightlight offers very memorable experiences for residents and visitors, showcasing its distinctive character while contributing to a sustainable future.


The plan attempts to not only enhance the Capital’s nighttime beauty and enrich nightlife experiences of residents and visitors, but it aims to promote environmentally responsible lighting practices. Some of the illumination projects that have already begun or have been completed are the Richmond Landing Shoreline, the National Holocaust Monument, Rideau Hall, and the National Arts Centre.


“Urban illumination is associated with safety and visual comfort, but also plays a role in a city’s image and attractiveness. Lighting technologies are evolving and the ability to illuminate architecture and urban features is improving. Sophisticated lighting designs are also increasingly used for special events. At the same time, illumination’s impact on the natural environment and human health is better understood. The wealth and beauty of the National Capital Region’s landscapes contribute to our nation’s strong and unique identity and should be showcased both day and night.”

(National Capital Commission, 2017)


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