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Illumination du pont Jacques-Cartier

Breakdown of the illuminations on the Jacques Cartier Bridge

The pulse of Montréal
Published on
June 22, 2018
Since May 17, 2017, 375 years after Ville-Marie was founded, thousands of Montrealers have enjoyed admiring the lights on the Jacques Cartier Bridge night after night. However, many people don’t know that each illumination is unique, and that each of them has contributed in his or her own way.

“The intention was to create an illumination of the bridge that would evolve with Montréal’s rhythm to become a sort of mirror of the city’s energy,” said Marie Belzil, multimedia director at Moment Factory, one of six Montréal firms that collaborated on the project’s design.

An interactive bridge, four stages

Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., every hour, the bridge comes to life for about six minutes. The show has four acts: 1-the weather, 2-traffic, 3-news, and 4- the city’s mood.

Soirée d'inauguration

“Obviously, we had to start with the weather, it’s such a hot topic in Montréal, and it really affects our moods,” explained Belzil.

Since the bridge is a connector between Montréal and the South Shore, traffic also had to be a theme of the bridge. “We were interested in the flow of traffic, its density, but also its highly evocative meaning in terms of the city’s activity,” she said.

News in Montréal’s media sets the stage for the third act: Has there been a lot going on in health and education today? If so, the bridge shows a predominance of red once night falls. Depending on the data being collected, it may be blue (sports), yellow (business), cyan (technology), green (environment), purple (the arts) or pink (religion and politics).

Finally, the bridge is also fed by social media – a geolocalized word analysis shows whether posts are positive or negative.

“Depending on the social media landscape, the visual animation goes up or down,” said Belzil.

Il s'illumine selon les humeurs des Montréalais

A unifying icon

Beyond everyday life in Montréal, the colours of the bridge evolve with the seasons.

“It’s like a weather clock. If the bridge is turning green, then it means that summer is coming, shade by shade,” said Belzil.

The Jacques Cartier Bridge, with its unparalleled smart programming, enhances the city not only through its architectural beauty, but also through life in Montréal, to which it now contributes.

“We love that the bridge is becoming a theatre for unifying events on the island of Montréal!” said Belzil.