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The industry contributes to the Canadian Centennial Celebration

Photo caption: Actors at the Charlottetown Summer Festival share backstage space with the IA crew.

Source: Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library

The Canadian government allocated more than $3 million to a program of entertainment that was used to tell the colorful and rich history of Canada in its first 100 years.  Drama, ballet, music, opera, musical shows, and special events were an integral part of the centennial celebration.  The skills of IA members turned out to be vital to the success of this grand celebration.

Stage productions were held in every province in every month of the centennial year.  Canada Festival was a comprehensive celebration of the arts in Canada, sponsored by the Centennial Commission.  

One of the most significant events of the year was the Canadian Armed Forces Tattoo, which included spectacular lighting effects, band concerts, and recreations of various periods of Canadian history, taken on tour throughout Canada.  IA electricians traveled with the Tattoo to ensure that no problems occurred with the huge amount of electrical equipment.  Although the Tattoo itself was composed entirely of Armed Forces personnel, three IA department heads were recognized in local areas, as they normally would be, along with five IA lamp operators.

During the summer, the Gothic Parliament buildings in Ottawa were the setting for a 40-minute “Son et Lumiere” (sound and light) presentation.  The show used stereophonic sound and special colored lighting to re-enact the building of Canada.  The show depicted the adventures, hardship and triumphs, culminating in a realistic representation of the 1916 fire which destroyed the Centre Block of the Parliament buildings.

Canada’s devotion to the arts was exemplified by the centennial celebration.  It is no wonder, then, that Canada, and especially Toronto, had become a thriving mecca for the performing arts, one which rivals New York and London in greatness.