Jacques Cartier Bridge – the luminous pulse of Montreal


The Jacques Cartier Bridge, an emblematic feature of the Montreal skyline, celebrated a new permanent lighting scheme that not only highlights its engineering, but also combines light and big data to reflect the mood of the city. Intelligent programming connected in real-time to big data and social media networks enables the bridge lighting to change constantly every night, in sync with Montreal’s seasons, weather, traffic and social media activity.


The new lighting is directed to four areas of the bridge’s steel  superstructure: piers, turrets, interior core or “heart”, and exterior facade or “skin.” A soft lighting is directed inwards towards the heart of the structure, minimising light loss and distractions to vehicles. A dynamic lighting of the exterior skin is directed outwards towards the surrounding metropolis. A combination of 2 800 tube lights and projectors have been used.

The energy of Montreal is reflected by a subtle play of light on the bridge’s exterior “skin”. The lighting pulses with the city’s social conversations as tracked on Twitter in real-time. Intensity, speed and density of these light fragments change based on how often Montreal-related hashtags are liked and shared. In addition, viewers can create a unique coloured spark by tweeting the bridge’s dedicated hashtag #illuminationMTL.


Jacques Cartier Bridge (c) Moment Factory


In addition, short 8-minute animations create a data-driven show that visually translates Montreal’s mood based on different types of daily data (weather, traffic, news, major events, etc.) making the bridge a barometer of Montreal life. This was a flagship project for the city’s 375th and Canada’s 150th anniversaries.

Jean-Baptiste Hardoin, Multimedia Director at Moment Factory, presented the illumination scheme at the 2017 Lyon Light Festival Forum. The LLFF is a yearly event organised by LUCI during the Fêtes des Lumières in Lyon.


Jacques Cartier Bridge at a glance:

  • Project Management: Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc.
  • Art concept: Moment Factory – in collaboration with Ambiances Design Productions, ATOMIC3, Éclairage Public / Ombrages, Lucion Média, Réalisations &UDO Design
  • Engineering: consortium WSP–AECOM
  • Equipment: Lumenpulse & Philips Lighting
  • Installation: Pomerleau



An edited version of this article originally appeared in   (Issue #6, December 2017).


Photo credits: © Moment Factory





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