Yesterday, Illuminarium Toronto, an attraction which opened in the Distillery District in August 2023, hosted an event to preview LITE-BRITE: Worlds of Wonder, a new show set to debut tomorrow, May 8th. Created by Secret Location in partnership with Hasbro, Inc., the collaboration brings together a creative studio and a renowned toy company, aiming to rekindle childlike joy and creativity through a 60-minute immersive experience stemming from the simple pleasure of the classic Lite-Brite toy. This glowing spectacle is transforming 13,500 ft² at 28 Gristmill Lane that previously was home to the Fermenting Cellar event venue. The Distillery District’s Victorian industrial architecture and vibrant arts scene make it an ideal location for the nostalgia-fuelled experience.

The host introducing the immersive experience, image by Anthony Teles

Illuminarium Experiences, an immersive entertainment company, with venues in Las Vegas and Atlanta as well as the Toronto location, offers sensory experiences that blend high-tech 4K laser projection, haptic feedback, and interactive elements to envelop visitors in cinematic environments. Their reprogrammable theatres allow for diverse content from a variety of creators. Toronto's venue features another ongoing show, SPACE: A Journey to the Moon & Beyond, which takes guests on an interstellar journey using imagery from the James Webb Telescope. Along with the ongoing shows, several special and seasonal events are coming soon, including concerts for Pride Month.

Once inside, Worlds of Wonder begins in a smaller room where the host welcomes guests before a talking Lite-Brite sets the stage, invoking a time "before HD screens or the Internet," where imagination was the only requirement for creativity.

Visitors then step into a larger room, where the walls are lined with large, segmented panels, each serving as a dynamic screen that hosts the vivid, pixelated animations integral to the experience. Behind the scenes, there are speakers embedded within the walls and the ceiling, and a duo of computers operates in concert behind each panel — one driving the interactive elements that respond to guest movements, the other managing the continuous flow of video content.

The Dino World portion of the experience, image by Anthony Teles

This main room is framed by high ceilings and rugged exposed ductwork, with circular seating arrangements and rectilinear glass or mirror pillars that reflect and refract the room's vibrant lights.

The narrative plays out with visual stories through the elegant dance of light and shadow across three thematic worlds: Ocean World, Dino World, and Future World. The space comes alive underfoot with interactive floors that respond to every step, creating a dynamic and interactive narrative.

The Ocean World portion of the experience and interactive floor, image by Anthony Teles

Eventually, the visual story culminates with the three worlds combining, akin to a child’s storytelling. This leads to a series of interactive games – one has participants stop spinning images on a digital display with a floor button, combining different elements into whimsical new forms. Another invites guests to defend a city of lights by stepping on luminous tiles, while another lets them design alien spaceships via their smartphone, which then joins a floating armada on the walls.

An interactive game utilizing floor buttons to create custom designs, image by Anthony Teles

Beyond the realms of play aimed at younger family members, the venue caters to a more grown-up audience as well, with a chic refreshment area that lights up like a Lite-Brite board itself, providing a fun backdrop for social gatherings or corporate events. 

Refreshment area with Lite-Brite decor and projector screen, image by Anthony Teles

After the experience, visitors can play with a giant Lite-Brite board with large pegs. Adjacent tables arrayed with classic Lite-Brites offer younger guests a chance to create their own luminous designs. There is also a small retail shop, including the classic toy, as well as a photo opportunity to capture a moment of their journey with a Lite-Brite photo print — a pixelated piece of personal art.

A giant interactive Lite-Brite board, image by Anthony Teles

"LITE-BRITE: Worlds of Wonder" offers various ticket packages, including options for adults, youth, and seniors. With its nostalgic charm and innovative use of technology, this new immersive experience will add a significant new attraction to the Distillery District, inviting visitors to explore the space and their imaginations.

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