Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

COMPANY HISTORY

Atlantic Illumination grew out of the lighting hobby
started by Richard Bonner in junior high 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 started in college. 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 lighting for musical acts.

    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 version of the name remained for a about eight years or so, but the word "Lyteshow" would come to be included less and less, as the company branched into sales and installations.


  Initial Clients

    During its first decade and a half, Atlantic Illumination supplied lighting at Atlantic-area schools and clubs, 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 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, but was eventually retired. 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 on Duncan Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was a basic warehouse shared by Atlantic Illumination and the band Roadwork. When those musicians transfered to their own band house a year or so later, the group Titan moved into the building.

    The owner of the Duncan Street building then sold out to a developer, and when the AI lease expired, 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 the former 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. (Magician Harry Houdini gave four performances in this hall in July of 1896, as part of an Eastern Canadian tour.)

    This cramped premises was simply too small, and with the increased business of that period, Richard acquired a two-story building at 80 Fairbanks Street (also in Dartmouth). 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

    By this time, 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. This work actually started in the club's first location on Gottingen Street, continued through the Kempt Road address, and on to the club's final site on Barrington Street. Sadly, The `Moon' no longer exists. Its last location was most recently a science centre. This building has now been demolished and a new office tower constructed.

    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 long family illness resulting in 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 been able to be completed. Future alterations planned 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 foregoing. 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 hall... and the AI building. It was decided after this to not wait any longer for anyone to step up to the plate, and so the repairs were tackled on our own. Since this had to be done to make the building usable, the expansion plans finally came to be realised, as well.


PRESENT DAY

    The warehouse has now been completely rebuilt, and equipment and shops restored or remodeled as seen in this Shop Photo Tour. Other recent changes include a new Internet domain name (AIEL.chebucto.biz) and reversion to the full company name of Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting, as well as branding its `AIEL' 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. As an arts supporter,
AIEL has extended sponsorship to Theatre Nova Scotia, Dartmouth
Players, Eastern Front Theatre, and to other theatre-related organisations.



Return to
A Canadian Company


AIEL Main Page