Moment Factory lights up Toronto Zoo to attract new demos

Who: Toronto Zoo and Moment Factory.

What: “Terra Lumina,” an immersive multimedia outdoor experience that tells a story about life in 2099, “when humans and nature have learned to live in harmony.”

When & Where: The experience launched Thursday night and will run through April, returning in 2020 and 2021.

Why: The objective, said Jennifer Tracey, the Toronto Zoo’s senior director of strategic communications and guest experience, is to create a night-time light experience that can attract new demographics—transforming it into a place for millennials and even young adults on a date night, she said. “It is unlike anything in the City of Toronto.”

How: Billed as “An enchanted night walk into a bright future,” visitors pass through an archway and are transported to 2099. The conservation story is told through eight different zones, with lights, projections and music. There are wolves, polar bears and a talking bison that gives visitors “hope for the future,” but reminds visitors they have to make changes now, said Tracey.

Why Moment Factory: They’ve got a world-class reputation and have created similar experiences with other zoos, said Tracey. “The story they proposed to us blew us away—it wasn’t a static light show, it was a full story, a full experience.”

Moment Factory is undoubtedly a Canadian creative success story, starting out as a small production studio in 2001, adding former Cirque du Soleil executive Éric Fournier as a partner in 2007, and taking off from there—from 15 to nearly 400 staff, with offices in New York, L.A., Tokyo, London and Paris. Its client/project list includes Los Angeles Airport, Nine Inch Nails, Madonna, Microsoft, NFL, Royal Caribbean, Sony, Toyota and Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.

Other Luminas: Moment Factory’s “Lumina” experiences have been a huge success since launching in Quebec’s Coaticook Park in 2014. Terra Lumina is the 12th Lumina experience, with others in Japan, Singapore, the U.S. and Europe. The concept is to take outdoor spaces that can seem scary in the dark, and turn them into bright, magical, multi-sensory experiences that tell a story.

“As kids, everyone has enjoyed all those stories about forests at night that are dangerous,” said Fournier, Moment Factory’s executive producer. “Those stories are universal—we’ve all had an experience with a forest at night that has been frightening.”

Lumina is about creating a new relationship with those outdoor spaces, he said. “It is a family entertainment experience whereby multimedia is used to provoke a different appreciation for nature and the outdoors.”

David Brown