Vancouver Island Visitor Centre

New Build



  • Electrical
    From preconstruction to construction to post project support and service, Houle provides all your electrical construction and renovation needs.
  • Lighting
    Houle offers in-house lighting design, consultation, installation, and maintenance services. We focus on energy saving solutions so you can lower your electricity bill while reducing your carbon footprint.

Scope of Work

Completed: 2011

Owner: Comox Valley Economic Development Society

Designed to showcase everything that Vancouver Island has to offer, the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre located in Comox Valley was designed to be an iconic landmark building. With its unique oval stack, natural wood finish, strong architectural shape, and the eye-catching life sized model of a Canadian Snowbird jet, the building incorporates many green features and technologies including a green roof, electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels to partially power the building, and a combination of waterless urinals and dual flush toilets. Window placement in the building utilizes natural lighting to reduce the use of electrical lighting during the day. Houle was responsible for all electrical construction for this visitors centre, including the supply and installation of a theatrical lighting/dimming system.

Due to funding delays and a stringent completion date, the job schedule was tight. This meant all trades on-site, including Houle, had to work more diligently. It also meant that that any issues that arose on-site could not wait for a Request for Information (RFI) so the issue had to be resolved immediately by the project team. Products procured by Houle for the job had to be delivered in a very timely manner.

On a site this small, working with four other trades proved to be a challenge, especially when some trades were not used to commercial construction and the tight time frame required. With an open building plan, alternative wiring methods was required, with every run planned by Houle prior to install. This meant much more wiring in the slab and across the roof between the substrate layers.

The theatrical lighting/dimming system also posed a challenge. With the design calling for presentation style lighting, 168 linear feet of track with 115 track light heads had to be suspended 16 feet. Adding to that, seismic support was also needed, with the oval shape of the structure further impeded progress.

Originally the proposed halogen lamps produced more heat than the cooling system could handle, consuming a staggering 69 kWh per day which surprised the client. Houle successfully mitigated the issue by replacing the bulbs with LEDs, thereby reducing usage to 55.2 kWh per day and decreasing the heat generated.