Merry Merry Music Brings Broadweigh to Toronto’s Eaton Centre
Canada – Broadweigh was the load monitoring brand of choice for the CF Toronto Eaton Centre’s Merry Merry Music event this festive season. The centre, which attracts over 50 million visitors annually, staged a one-of-a-kind programme of celebrity performers at Christmas, in place of its festive tree tradition, which has had to take a break due to a major roof replacement project.
Rigging company Paradigm Rigging was brought on board to support some of the technical aspects involved in bringing a holiday atmosphere to the mall space as well as supporting and enhancing the musical performances.
Michael Sorowka, MD, Paradigm Rigging commented: “We were brought on board to work with the rigging and load monitoring of the grid structure being used to suspend multiple snowflake scenic elements, as well as a large 5000lb circular video wall. Given the space the project was being assembled in and the intricacies of getting the grid flown into place, Ryan Brenton from Palmer Audio knew he would need some expert hands on-site to ensure the project was delivered both on schedule and more importantly, safely.”
Palmer Audio, an Ontario-based, full-service event production company, has worked with Paradigm Rigging in various capacities for almost ten years, with Paradigm typically being brought in for more intricate rigging projects where extra specialised experience is an asset. Michael continued: “Rigging a 5000lb circular video wall in the middle of the Eaton Centre doesn’t come without its challenges. A larger grid structure had to be built at ground level, raked while being lifted to get past surrounding escalators and concourse balconies, then levelled out to both provide a space for additional scenic elements and distribute the weight far enough across the building’s arching roof.”
The roof structure within the building is an array of arches supporting a glass roof which sits at just over 120ft off the ground floor. Given how grid structures can transfer massive amounts of weight while showing limited amounts of movement, it was integral that all points involved here had load cells to ensure proper weight distributions within the building engineer’s set approved limits.
Michael explained: “Paradigm’s primary safety concerns were the weight limits set by the building engineer on what the maximum allowable weight loads were per rigging point. Given such a large, rigid structure, sitting on 12 individual motors, it would be easy to overload a motor or attachment point if it wasn’t being closely monitored. The method we used to raise this also posed another unique challenge where we had to lift nearly the whole grid using four motors to get the proper angle set before we could fully lift past our obstacles. The use of the load cells was key to balancing those weights. Once at full height, and the lower video wall built, the load calls were critical in balancing out this load across the 12 grid motors.”
Michael and his team used 16 x BW-S325 5/8” (3.25t) wireless load cells along with both the BW-BSue and BW-BSd- USB receivers being used at separate times within the Log100 viewing software. “The customisable visualisation pages within Log100 allowed us to drop in rigging plot overlays on the background as well as add total loads and equations to give us a percentage breakdown of each point,” said Michael. “This is a massive benefit over just seeing rows of data because it lets the riggers at the controller have an easy visual overview of the project and allows a clearer understanding of the data received.”
The Broadweigh kit was the perfect fit for this job, given its wireless ease of installation and its highly valuable graphical user interface in Log100. Michael concluded: “Working in the mall provides many unique challenges. The benefits of the system being wireless, together with the ability to build visual layouts in the program, with added channels for total weights and individual channel percentage breakdowns in Log 100, is something that gives the client and other riggers on site more confidence and peace of mind in what they’re doing.”