HOSPITABLE // Located in La Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook, the basic necessities for a convenient overall experience is pretty much covered: secure parking, clearly marked entrance and restaurant options on site. The illuminated light trail itself is self-guided and practically self-explanatory. Knowing that this is a place that draws in many people, we found Foresta Lumina and Parc de la Gorge still managed to make the experience feel exclusive due to a system where everybody cannot enter the park at the exact same time.
There are personnel along the trail, which creates an easy atmosphere. The trail is leveled out where most needed, which is an additional benefit since it gives one the ability to focus on the actual experience. The staff is generally welcoming but not as knowingly or attentive as could have been. However, one of the staff members stood out and stepped in without hesitation as we had to leave after the trail was done:
“A closed road near the entrance meant I had to back the car all the way out from the crowded parking lots, and a line of playing kids and families in the dark. Although not part of his job description, he patiently guided me all the way out. I had the feeling he would have jumped inside the car and driven me all the way back to Montreal himself, only to make sure I’d get home safely had I had any discomfort at all. What a gentleman! He ought to be given the crown many others often take for granted.”
..he would have jumped inside the car and driven me all the way back to Montreal himself, only to make sure I’d get home safely had I had any discomfort at all. What a gentleman!
AUTHENTIC // Moment Factory have created custom elements for each of the trail’s zones and Foresta Lumina is cleverly designed to complement the forest itself. It’s simply a unique experience design and “creative storytelling” doesn’t get much more authentic than this. The webpage lives up to its expectations and the storytelling have been researched and inspired by anecdotes from the area, which makes the experience all the more authentic.
What you see is not only well advanced projections and colorful video mapping; it’s an artistic expression incorporated into nature, and you can hear the highlighted tales and legends whispering amid the swaying branches.
MEMORABLE // The vision, heart and content of the production is very well conceptualized and in line with the heart of Moment Factory; as co-founder and Creative Director Sakchin Bessette mentioned in our meeting beforehand: “the future is about creating depth in storytelling”. Foresta Lumina is no exception. It is simply superior in terms of innovative multimedia experiences worldwide; as Gabriel Pontbriand (Foresta Lumina’s Environment Director) mentioned when we asked him which experience he wanted to create: “it’s all about the goose bumps!”. While the technology adds value to the excising, the total experience has the ability to create instant and lasting emotional responses from its audience.
The surprising elements and awe-inspiring sceneries that have been created makes most resolute memories and without a doubt worth BeLeaving in. Balancing multimedia and nature have without a doubt been a challenging task, but the result is so impressive it’s easy to forget it wasn’t always like: magic! But maybe it was, and that is the key: the team of Moment Factory only highlighted its natural beauty.
IMMERSIVE // Some of the trail’s zones feels is like walking through landscapes (e.g. small lightning units designed to suggest the presence of fairies), while other zones are differently illustrative (e.g. a transparent screen used for a subtle projection in a clearing). Whichever solution they are all quirky in their own special ways.
I have been in meetings with business professionals who claimed incorporating stories into nature wasn’t technically possible; that it wouldn’t attract an audience; that it wasn’t interesting. Moment Factory did it! And it’s a huge success. Walking though it, I felt like I blended into a surreal reality; a bold, immersive authenticity that awakened my senses and made my chin drop.
Many interesting beings and elements have been incorporated in Foresta Lumina. The main characters are described at the beginning of the trail on perforated, backlit metal panels. Some work very well while others may need a bit of tweaking (like the glowing rocks), which might affect the overall immersive experience a bit.
The gentleman portrayed in different ways thought-out the trail, adds not only to the legends but also to our own imagination. After dark, alone in a magical forest -it’s easy to let imagination run wild:
Dancing passionately in-between the trees with this mysterious gentleman, I felt safe from harm. His warm body pressed against mine, his strong hand around my waist leading the way and how we twirled around like flames, faster and faster. And then! In front of the fire pit, his true devilish colors casted its dangerous shadows. I wanted to escape. To be set free. But I was incapable thereof. I was already his. Surrendered. And completely spellbound.
“The devil is a recurrent concept in the realm of Quebecois’s legends the often illustrated as a gentleman, the seducer, that comes to trick humans and steal their souls”, Marie Belzil (Foresta Lumina’s Multimedia Director) tells me. Maybe most known amongst the “gentleman” legend is “Le diable beau danseur et Rose Latulippe”, in which a girl and the devil in disguise dances faster and faster until they crash through the window, where she lands on the grass all covered in broken glass as he disappears.
Although the tales hereof have a religious voice as well, good tales have a way of reflecting our current day, too. Much like falling in love with someone with questionable intentions; maybe even then, someone was trying to teach us women a lesson?
Would not recommend public transportation. Renting a car and travelling from Monreal to Coaticook is an easy 2 hour ride, but can easily take a lot longer, depending on traffic. Plan in advance. Recommend visiting the area if you have a few days at hand; e.g. arrive a day early and go on a long daytime hike in Parc de la Gorge. It’s fun to compare day/night in the park and crossing North America’s longest suspension bridge is a trilling experience in itself. There are restaurants on site but might be better options nearby. You cannot enter the forest for some time before Foresta Lumina opening hours, but suggest arriving well in advance to avoid long lines. Bringing a picnic and sitting outside by the small tables seems to be a popular option.