Modern Lighting Revitalizes Historic Brockville Railway Tunnel

Brockville Tunnel

August 15, 2017

Historical landmark revived with light

A pillar of Canada’s pre-Confederation industrial heritage, the Brockville Railway Tunnel has undergone an innovative restoration project transforming the tunnel into a cutting-edge walkway fitted with Philips Color Kinetics dynamic LED lighting. The project sets a new benchmark in public-private collaboration for the city of Brockville. The newly illuminated tunnel creates a new city identity, celebrates the history, fosters livability, and generates an economic impact for the city of Brockville all while adding it to the list of must visit places in the Thousand Islands region of eastern Ontario.

The Brockville Tunnel is a remarkable historical landmark and we had a vision to transform it into a true attraction that will make it internationally known. With the Philips architectural LED lighting system, we have created something wonderful for the community and visitors,” said David LeSueur, City of Brockville Councilor and Brockville Railway Tunnel Committee Chair

 Customer Challenge

Constructed over the course of 1854 – 1860, the Brockville Rail Tunnel was the first railway tunnel built in Canada. Located underneath the downtown area of the Ontario city, the Brockville and Ottawa Railway with its tunnel was built to connect the St. Lawrence River with the Ottawa River to take advantage of the lucrative lumber trade. Later the tunnel served as a gateway to bring in goods from the United States via the St. Lawrence River through to the province of Ontario until 1970 when service ceased. In 1983 the city of Brockville acquired the railway tunnel from the Canadian Pacific Railway as a part of a heritage preservation initiative, fitting the south portal of the tunnel with an 85 foot walkway open to the public. In 1992 the Brockville Railway Tunnel was designated as a historic site.

Eighteen years later in 2010 a newly formed Brockville Railway Tunnel Committee made up of both public and private stakeholders, initiated a feasibility study on historic sites, public enterprise, and commercial attraction. Revitalization of the tunnel was included in the city’s strategic plan with a vision to provide visitors of Brockville’s waterfront a complete experience, turning it into a true destination location.

                                                                                                    The right lighting

Tunnel

The entire 525 m (1722 ft) of the tunnel was installed with Philips Color Kinetics ColorGraze MX4 Powercore fixtures (, transforming the mostly unused railway tunnel into a visually stunning walkway that highlights the tunnel’s architecture and geology and connect the north and south portals. Grazing fixtures were specifically chosen for the inside of the railway in order to showcase the unique architectural and geological components of the 155 year old tunnel, while ColorBlast Powercore gen4 fixtures were installed at both portals to invitingly illuminate the entrances. The lighting inside the tunnel runs a dynamic “Philips Light Show” 365 days a year, drawing in locals and tourists alike. Citizens can even request custom lightshows for events held on the waterfront. More than 700 Philips Color Kinetics ColorGraze Powercore LED fixtures, containing 2,800 individually controllable colour nodes, have been used to transform this previously unused railway tunnel into a visually stunning pedestrian walkway.

The Brockville Railway Tunnel was reopened to the public on August 12, 2017 to coincide with the Canada 150 celebrations taking place across the Great White North this year. Already a hotbed of tourist activity in the summer months, the newly restored Brockville Railway Tunnel serves as a perfect gateway between the section of the city known as ‘The Gorge’ and the waterfront, drawing as much as 30,000 more visitors to the downtown area.

The charm of the tunnel is enabling the city to enhance visitation and creating a buzz in social media and popular travel sites around the world. The tunnel has become the central hub in Brockville to host community events and festivals year-round, further cementing it as one of the iconic landmarks in Thousand Islands region.

  Photo Credits:

Photo 1 – Courtesy of Keith Hare

Photo 2 – Courtesy of Ford Electric

Related Articles


Changing Scene

  • LSI Industries Reports Fiscal 2023 First Quarter Results and Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

    December 5, 2022 LSI Industries Inc. reported financial results for its fiscal 2023 first quarter. FISCAL 2023 FIRST QUARTER For the fiscal first quarter 2023, LSI delivered significant year-over-year growth in net sales, driven by strong demand in the Company’s key vertical markets for both Lighting and Display Solution products. Operating Income, net income, and… Read More…

  • Clear Blue Technologies Announces Q3 2022 Financial Results

    December 5, 2022 Clear Blue Technologies International Inc. announces its financial results for the quarter ending September 30, 2022 (“Q3 2022”). A complete set of Financial Statements and Management’s Discussion & Analysis (“MD&A”) has been filed at www.sedar.com. All dollar amounts are denominated in Canadian dollars.  Key Financial Results  On a Trailing Four Quarter (“TFQ”) basis:… Read More…


Design

  • LIT Lighting Design Awards: Capital Park Landscape, Victoria, BC

    LIT Lighting Design Awards: Capital Park Landscape, Victoria, BC

    December 5, 2022 Located in one of Victoria’s most historic neighborhoods, the Capital Park Mixed-Use Development is made up of seven buildings stretching across three lots and is responsible for nearly an entire city block of Victoria’s downtown core. The project took place over the span of three phases and eight years. The first phase… Read More…

  • Smith + Andersen Toronto 2022 IES Award Winning Projects

    Smith + Andersen Toronto 2022 IES Award Winning Projects

    December 5, 2022 This year, the Smith + Andersen Lighting Team received the Toronto IES 2022 Illumination Section Award and the IESNA Illumination Award of Merit for two projects: Grasett Park (Exterior Lighting Design), and St Paul’s Church (Interior Lighting Design). Each of these Toronto-based projects demonstrate a level of design excellence expected by the… Read More…


New Products

  • Stanpro Retro 5 CCT Selectable Downlight

    Stanpro Retro 5 CCT Selectable Downlight

    December 1, 2022 This Retro LED downlight offers a simple and economical retrofit solution for all traditional recessed applications. Easy installed with a quick connects wire and the E26 socket adaptor, this LED downlight is ideal for retrofitting into most of traditional 4″ and 5″-6″ housings, it will be installed in no time. The color… Read More…

  • Eureka Introduces Tangram-Trace Architectural Luminaire

    Eureka Introduces Tangram-Trace Architectural Luminaire

    November 30, 2022 Eureka announced the release of its Tangram-Trace architectural luminaire. Using bold straps and a prismatic lens, Tangram-Trace creates a dramatic aesthetic and provides high quality, diffused linear illumination. It is intended for modern environments such as conference and executive areas, hospitality applications, or reception spaces. Tangram-Trace luminaires are suspended using four-inch-wide straps,… Read More…