Illuminating the Esplanade Riel Bridge

Spanning the Red river, the Esplanade Riel Bridge is an iconic figure in the Winnipeg community, providing pedestrian access between two unique communities. To highlight this bridge at night, HID fixtures were installed with the completion of the bridge in 2002. These HID fixtures were 4000K white only, and eventually began to fail. When the city put out an open call for proposals on re-lighting the bridge, SGM immediately came to mind. In addition to the high intensity output and beautiful, saturated colors that SGM is known for, these fixtures would also meet the city’s request to replace the existing fixtures with a “high quality, low-maintenance, color controllable LED fixture,” and wireless Lumenradio DMX could be utilized.

We used SGM fixtures on a previous project and were very impressed with the fixture quality and capabilities. We also wanted to use a lighting manufacturer with a solid track record and SGM impressed us with their portfolio of installations around the world.

Trevor Cole: Tri-Star Traffic, Project Manager

About the Installation

The completed installation is visible for miles, and in total is only 55 small-size fixtures – impressive considering the size of the bridge: 250m in length, 5m wide, and the Pylon at 57m tall and cable stays bridging from there. SGM fixtures met three important needs for the project: reliable, low-maintence fixtures that could withstand harsh Canadian weather; high output to reach over 100 feet; and a compact and lightweight size to fit in the existing fixture locations. The RGBW color-changing capabilities allow beautiful moving gradient effects across the entire bridge, for specific colors on holidays, special events, or even matching the old 4000K white color temperature.  The city is thrilled to have the capability of the color-changing LEDs, as well as excited by the reduction in maintenance costs, energy savings, and increased intensity of light.

Engineered by Wardrop Engineering Winnipeg, the Esplanade Riel Bridge is 250m in length, 5m wide, and the center Pylon is 57m tall. The Pylon is pre-stressed with a cantilevered and stayed semi-circular plaza area its base. This bridge was the first in North America to include a restaurant in the center plaza area. This bridge was completed in 2004 and upgraded with SGM in early 2022.

“My favorite thing about the project is the overall impact that the new lighting makes on the appearance of the bridge and the Winnipeg skyline as a whole. The Esplanade Riel Bridge is a very distinct landmark in Winnipeg, especially prominent when approaching downtown from St. Boniface or from the Forks historic site.”

Trevor Cole

Products used

47 x i-2 RGBW 8.5° POI

8 x P-2 RGBW 43° POI


Project Manager: Trevor Cole

Photographers: Trevor Cole and Huck Media

Client: City of Winnipeg

Installer: Field Service Canada

Dealer: Tri-Star Traffic