6ix Secrets: Operating the CN Tower’s lighting system as simple as a few computer clicks

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WATCH ABOVE: Global News learned how CN Tower staff control the building’s 1,330 lighting panels to create a stunning display at night – Nov 1, 2016

The CN Tower is arguably Toronto’s best-known landmark and with the assistance of 1,330 lighting panels, it’s also one of Toronto’s brightest.

Did you know the tower’s LED lighting system can produce 16 million different colour combinations with a couple of clicks on a simple computer program?

“It boils down to this… a notebook, a laptop,” Tom Mellon, director of operations at the CN Tower, told Global News during a building tour.

READ MORE: Toronto landmark CN Tower celebrating 40 years

He said the lights can be remotely controlled anywhere from a computer with an internet connection. Mellon, who said he has changed the colours from home late in the evening, said the system can do basic colours or complex shows.

“One of the (shows) that’s actually quite intricate is our top of the hour show. Every hour on the hour, we mark the hour with the top of the hour light show,” he said.

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The show, which runs for about eight minutes, features the flag colours of every Canadian province and territory along with other special effects.

“We try to really flex some muscle with this lighting system,” Mellon said, the tower often changes the lighting colour scheme to recognize community events and causes such as breast cancer awareness or sporting team colours after a game win.

WATCH: CN Tower lit up in red, white and blue to honour France victims (Nov. 13)

The lighting system was installed in 2007 and replaced the older, energy inefficient lights at the base and observation deck of the tower.

In each of the three elevator shafts, over 250 light bars shine onto the concrete inside. If a light bar fails, building engineers use the elevators as a platform to unplug the malfunctioning light and quickly replace it.

So how much does it cost to light the tower? You might be surprised to learn that it only costs, according to Mellon, around $1,000 a month.

Watch Global News at 5:30 & 6 p.m. ET Tuesdays for our weekly 6ix Secrets series.

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