On July 1, 1984, with the doors open to the newly built Edmonton Space Sciences Centre (ESSC), the facility ushered in the beginning of Laser Light shows in the Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre planetarium. This was the inaugural introduction of this form of entertainment to the residents of Northern Alberta.
The first laser show to grace the 23 metre diameter dome was a show called Laser Drive, a show created and presented by Audio Visual Imagineering (AVI), a company out of Orlando, Florida, established in 1978. The show presented pulse pounding music of the 80’s like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” with intense animated and abstract laser patterns created from a 2 Watt Krypton-Argon laser projection system. With the 16,000 watt audio system of the theatreitself, the music of the laser shows could clearly be heard outside the main building and down 111 Avenue!
In 1985, the ESSC purchased a Laser Fantasy laser projection system and contracted a Vancouver based company, Roundhouse Productions, to operate the laser component of the laser shows. Roundhouse Productions was firmly established at the H.R. MacMillan Planetarium in Vancouver, developing and operating laser shows at that facility – they were a logical step for the evolution of lasers shows in Edmonton.
Shows like “UK Invansion”, “Pink Floyd Skylights” and “Laser Genesis” were just part of the repertoire of Roundhouse Productions shown in the years from 1985 to 1988. In the spring of 1987 the ESSC took over the complete operation of laser shows, with Roundhouse laserist John Jachina training the first part-time, on-staff laserist, Frank Florian.
To this day Frank Florian, continues his involvement with the facility as the VP of Science! Over time other laserists were trained, performing almost every genre of music from country to classical and heavy metal to alternative, with most of the shows being produced by Laser Fantasy International. The midnight showings of the Laser U2 and the Laser Floyd shows were almost always filled to capacity. Updates to the laser equipment over time allowed for more colourful and vibrant lasers beams to be projected, the addition of fog machines and well programmed beam songs really enhanced the overallexperience. Educational shows like “Listen to the Whales,” a show featuring marvel super heroes battling environmental issues, began in the early 1990s and continued until 2007 when alas, laser shows were put on hiatus after a proud 23-year run.
In 2014, the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton dusted off the laser board, fired up the old lasers and brought the famed laser shows back to life for a limited run in celebrate of the science centre’s 30th Anniversary! Happy 30th Anniversary TELUS World of Science!!