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Community Loudspeakers Inform and Entertain at Upper Fort Garry
Posted on Monday, December 19, 2016
Community Loudspeakers Inform and Entertain at Upper Fort Garry

Known as the birthplace of Manitoba, Upper Fort Garry in Winnipeg is a significant site in Canadian history. Although the original fort was largely demolished in the 1880’s, its remaining Governor’s Gate and an area of surrounding land was gifted to the city by the Hudson Bay Company “as a public park forever.” Overshadowed by surrounding buildings and nearly forgotten, recent development pressures rekindled interest in the site and led to the inspired vision of a $19 million heritage park and interpretive center for Upper Fort Garry.

A 400-foot commemorative wall of naturally rusting Corten steel has been built, with integrated LED lighting by Daktronics and sound by Inland Audio Visual. Marking the height, depth and location of Upper Fort Garry’s original west wall, its sculptured layers scribe three continuous lines tracing the history of Western Canada and of Upper Fort Garry.

Inland Audio Visual of Winnipeg was commissioned to design and install the audio for the wall.  Barry Carr, system designer, takes up the story, “After seeing the plans for the park, I quickly realized that to successfully cover 400 feet of wall a multi-channel solution would be the way to go and this would also allow for some interesting and creative audio content possibilities.”

Source for the system comes from separate audio and video servers, with 18 channels of audio content produced and pre-loaded to be used as required. Both servers then respond to a Medialon show control system, which schedules, runs and synchronizes the entire show. The system amplifiers and DSP are Electro-Voice and the total available audio power is 16 kilowatts. Audio transmission is entirely digital and carried over Dante.

The audio system utilizes eighteen Community W2-2W8 mid/highs and fourteen W2-122 dual 12-inch subwoofers, distributed along the length of the wall. Carr explains, “The key reason for choosing Community was the durability of the W SERIES in extreme weather. Winnipeg is not only known for beautiful warm summers, but brutally cold winters where the temperatures can go down to 30 degrees below zero! To have the Community speakers perform as good as they do is a bonus to their durability, and they do sound good ..... very good!”

More than 30 icons are artistically woven into the history timeline on the wall and an accompanying app has been produced for visitors to learn more about the fort before they enjoy the sound and light show, which runs hourly and is proving to be a popular attraction for Winnipeg’s residents and tourists.