Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

COMPANY HISTORY


Atlantic Illumination grew out of the lighting hobby
started by Richard Bonner when he was in school. His
career is essentially this company's story. However,
some additional details are presented below.



  GENESIS

    The beginnings of the company started with the first use of the name "Atlantic Illumination" which occurred in 1970. Richard wanted to sound more professional than just having his band lighting referred to as "Richard's Lights". He wanted a name that would include the concept of lighting and also be synonymous with the area of Canada in which he worked. Then too, he was being called upon for lighting by a number of persons and businesses outside his usual circle of friends, and so preferred to have a name that would cover more than just his band lighting.

    The initial version of the company name grew out of the name "Richard Bonner Lightshow" to become "Atlantic Illumination Lyteshow", with "Lightshow" being spelled in a way as was able to be trade marked. This name remained throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, but by 1979, the word "Lyteshow" would be used less and less, as the company branched into sales and installations.


  The 1970s

    During this decade, Atlantic Illumination supplied lighting at Atlantic-area clubs and schools, toured with acts such as Carol Baker, Jose Feliciano, and Roy Orbison, and did pageants and outdoor rock concerts. A high point in this era was providing the lighting and special effects for Nova Scotia on Stage, the official opening of The Halifax Metro Centre.


  A COMPANY is FORMED

    Enough business was being procured from a variety of sources, so in 1977, Richard went legitimate as "Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting", a name that would better reflect the variety of lighting work. The term "Lyteshow" remained in use for live band lighting into the early and mid 1980s, but was retired around 1985 or '86. The short name of "Atlantic Illumination" was used for all public promotion and branding.


  The FIRST BUSINESS LOCATION

    The first company location outside of Richard's home was in the mid 1970s on Duncan Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a basic warehouse shared by Atlantic Illumination and the band Roadwork. When that group moved to its own band house a year or so later, the group Titan moved into the building until 1979. (For information on Roadwork and Titan, and on other on Nova Scotia rock acts, see the Nova Scotia Classic Rock website.)

    The owner of the Duncan Street building sold out in 1979 to a developer, and when the lease expired at the end of that same year, the new owner would not renew as he wanted the building to be renovated into a residence. That home occupies the same space on Duncan Street today, of which the front part of the roof line is the original dormer of that warehouse.


  A NEW WAREHOUSE

    The lease expiry necessitated a move to temporary quarters at the back of the lower level in the International Order of Foresters (IOOF) building on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth. The upstairs was the hall for St. Peter's Church located a few blocks away. (Harry Houdini actually gave four performances in this hall in 1896!)

    This cramped premises was simply too small and with the increased business of that period, Richard bought a two-story building at 80 Fairbanks Street (also in Dartmouth) in August of 1981. Atlantic Illumination resides there to this day. (The IOOF Hall was torn down not long after AI left. It is a downtown parking lot today.)

    Over the next two decades, the Fairbanks Street location would go through renovations from a mostly large open space to include a Showroom, Offices, Assembly Shop, Electronics Shop, Rentals Area, Gel & Lamp section, Shipping & Receiving, and a large upstairs storage area.


  BUSINESS GROWS

    During the 1980s and 90s, the company received contracts for lighting sales and installations at clubs and schools, including a continual contract to provide lighting at one of Halifax's most famous rock spots: The Misty Moon. That contract actually started in the late 1970s when the club was located on Gottingen Street, went through the mid 1980s on Kempt Road, and on to the club's final site on Barrington Street. Sadly, The `Moon' no longer exists. Its last location was most recently a tourist bureau and then a science centre. This building is currently slated for demolition.

    Thoughout that period, Atlantic Illumination continued to furnish lighting and special effects to touring acts, major pageants, and to theatre productions. To see a list of those acts and shows, as well as those that came before and since, go to Artists and Shows.


  DISASTER!

    Atlantic Illumination remained at the Fairbanks location where further renovations had been planned to the property. However, a family death in 1999 and then a school custodial labour strike in 2001 resulted in almost three years of reduced business.

    While starting to recover from the above, Hurricane Juan severely damaged the warehouse's roof in September of 2003. Before Juan, a remodelling of The Assembly Shop and Gel & Lamp section had just been completed. Future alterations at that time had been expected to entail additional offices upstairs, expansion of the main showroom, possibly to the second story, and a new street facade. All were delayed while insurance claims, government red tape, contractor woes and a court case played out.

    During this long period of contestation, the warehouse roof deteriorated due to the impass created by all the above. Then during a subsequent winter, a heavy snowfall followed by rain saw a number of roof collapses in the Maritime Provinces including on an arena, a legion... and the AIEL building. It was decided after this to not wait for anyone to step up to the plate and so to tackle the repairs on our own. Since this was going to be done, the expansion plans finally came to be realised, as well.


  PRESENT DAY

    The building has now been almost completely rebuilt, and equipment and shops restored or remodeled as seen in this Shop Tour. Other recent changes include a new Internet domain name (AIEL.chebucto.biz) and reversion to the full company name, Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting, as well as branding its initials for all promotions and on the website.

Currently, AIEL regularly supplies lighting for stage
musicals and plays, bands and dance performances,
as well as continuing with sales and rentals.



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