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Bright Future of Winnipeg Jets Casts Spotlight on Need to Upgrade Lighting at The Met

by PLSN Staff • in
  • Featured
  • News
• Created: November 9, 2018

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WINNIPED – Historic landmark now properly lit for another playoff run A city’s hidden gem became party central during the Winnipeg Jets playoff run in 2018. The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre (known as The MET) on Donald Street in the heart of downtown Winnipeg is walking distance from the Bell MTS Centre, which is the home of the local National Hockey League team.

Now, thanks to the addition of high output accent lighting from Acclaim Lighting, the place is properly lit for another playoff run. The MET is a state-of-the-art conference, banquet and meeting facility that accommodates upward of 1,000 persons. Designed by famed architect C. Howard Crane, it has retained the original look, feel and grandeur of a historic theatre. When it opened its doors in 1919 during the Golden Age of Cinema, The Allen (as it was then known) became known as one of Crane’s movie palaces. Crane designed some 250 theaters in total, many of which were considered architectural masterpieces. That legacy came to a temporary end when the theater closed in 1987. It would not reopen again until 2012 when Canad Inns restored the beautiful facility. Today The MET features a variety of exquisitely appointed spaces in which patrons can enjoy a casual drink or an intimate meal. The Grand Hall has a 35 ft. by 26 ft. screen and balcony-level private boxes for hosting special events. Private meetings or pre-event gatherings can be catered in the state-of-the-art function room, and the roof-top patio provides an ideal spot for seasonal dining. Equally beautiful is the exterior of the building, which Crane designed in the sumptuous style characteristic of the era of elegant movie palaces. While the interior was opulently restored, plans for lighting the exterior were stalled until the Jets surged through the National Hockey League Playoffs. Since tickets for the Jets’ first playoff game sold out quickly, there was interest in leveraging the excitement by hosting various fan events in close proximity to the ice arena. A series of “whiteout” street parties were organized. Fan response was overwhelming. In fact, during Game 1 of the Winnipeg Jets’ best-of-seven Western Conference playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, it was estimated that nearly 9,000 people attended the “party.” Organizers of the event were forced to nearly double the size of the event space for Game 2. With so many people on Donald Street, the Winnipeg office of Christie Lites Sales saw an opportunity to show off The MET as it became a major focus of Jets game, especially with Canadian ice hockey commentator Don Cherry broadcasting live from the front canopy of the building on national network television during playoff home games. As the Winnipeg Jets progressed in their unprecedented playoff run, the whiteout street parties continued attracting tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans. It was the first time a Winnipeg NHL franchise had ever made it to the Western Conference finals. According to Economic Development Winnipeg, which organized the downtown events, a total of 120,500 fans attended the nine street parties over six weeks. That figure does not include the sellout crowd of roughly 15,000 fans who watched each game inside Bell MTS Centre. The final party wrapped up May 20 with a Western Conference final-ending loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at Bell MTS Place. Temporary to Permanent After the whiteout street parties concluded, The MET wanted to move ahead with its exterior lighting update, especially with the Jets season starting again in just a few months. Vance Masters, Jr., director of entertainment technologies for the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre/Canad Inns, said, “Our existing exterior lighting fixtures were out of date. They were not projecting enough to wash our building and there was not enough focus to really show the true heritage of The MET’s original opulent 1919 architecture.” Masters, Jr. turned to Gary Sywake, sales and integration representative in the Winnipeg office of Christie Lites Sales, who had helped supply the temporary street lighting for the whiteout street parties. Christie Lites Sales works with architects, engineers and consultants to serve as a one-stop service provider that oversees projects from beginning to end of a project. This streamlined approach allows the user and specifier to have a single point of contact which allows for an efficient completion of the project. Sywake said, “Our task was to bring back a vibrant look representative of the movie palace era by highlighting the front and the top portion of the architecture in order to help position the MET as a showpiece for events and Winnipeg Jet hockey games.” The lighting design and specification phase for The MET started in April 2018 with very specific criteria. Among other requirements, the fixtures had to provide precise beam angles to illuminate the unique aspects of the exterior architecture. The fixtures had to project a significant amount of light focused on specific areas of the buildings, providing at least 400 lumens per foot. The fixtures also had to have easy color changing capabilities to quickly adjust at a moment’s notice for any event hosted by the MET. Finally, the fixtures had to be able to perform in low temperatures. Color Under Control After investigating several light sources, Christie Lites Sales specified two fixtures from Acclaim Lighting in Los Angeles – Dyna Accent™ RGBW for spotlighting the brick façade portions and AL Graze DC DMX to highlight the windows between the brick portions. Both Dyna Accent and AL Graze are IP66 rated for wet locations and maintain 70 percent of their lumens at 150,000 hours. Dyna Accent is a high-power, LED floodlight designed for outdoor commercial and landscape applications. Providing more than 1400 lumens, the high output Dyna Accent is available in RGBW and single-color temperatures of 2700K, 3000K, 3500K and 4000K. The unit has a narrow 6º standard beam with 20º, 40º, 60º, and 10 º x 60 º spread lens options. The floodlight consumes only 35 watts, performs at temperatures between -40° F to 122° F. Dyna Accent also features the Aria Wireless DMX system inside which allows for ease of use in applications, especially where it may have been difficult to run control wiring. Aria Wireless DMX also features an internal 100-240VAC power supply and onboard DMX+RDM driver. To complement Dyna Accent, AL Graze DC DMX is a high power, low profile, outdoor linear LED fixture with an on-board DMX driver and RDM addressing for internal control. Available in 1- and 4- foot sections with a linkable cable system for multiple configurations, AL Graze consumes only 9 watts per linear foot while operating at 100-277VAC and delivers approximately 419 lumens per feet in temperatures ranging from of -4°F to 123°F. The linear LED fixture offers color temperatures ranging from 2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4000K, along with RGB, RGBW RGBA and Dynamic White (2400K-5500K). Beam angles can be set at 10º x 60º, 30º x 60º, 15º x 15º, 60º x 60º for maximum reach. Mounting 30º swivel mount and fixed flat mount are included with the unit for a wide range of applications. Once the specification was completed, the team asked Mark Ectovich, president at Rite Lites in Saint-Laurent, QC., to review the design and scope of the project before a final review with the client. Rite Lites provides the specification community with local representation for technical support and service and has a national network of highly trained lighting professionals. “The design truly highlights the architectural beauty of the buildings,” said Sywake. “In addition, the system enables The MET to quickly switch colors to reflect holidays and special events without jeopardizing the rich historic beauty of the building.” Masters, Jr. added, “Pictures say it all. The owners of The MET are very enthused and could not have asked for a better outcome. We have received a lot of fanfare and many positive comments on social media. Now we are ready for another fun playoff run from the Jets.” # #


The Jets and The MET lighting up the street in Winnipeg

Photo Credit-Gary Sywake

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