Yellowknife will switch off the lights on Tuesday night as it bids to win $5 million in federal “Smart Cities” funding.

Lights at City Hall and the neighbouring Somba K’e Civic Plaza will be dimmed at 5:20pm, during what the City is calling an “Extraordinary Skies Event.”

The aim is to demonstrate how better street lighting in Yellowknife could make the night sky – and the all-important aurora – all the more visible.

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The City is a finalist in the federal Smart Cities Challenge’s $5 million category, having come up with a plan to spend the cash on smart streetlights which dim when no pedestrians or vehicles are nearby.

There has also been talk of equipping the streetlights with other forms of smart functionality – citywide wi-fi being easily the most popular, though that isn’t a confirmed feature.

Ecology North and Northland Utilities are the City’s partners for the project.

“Reducing the light pollution in Yellowknife is a fundamental part of our proposal for the Smart Cities Challenge,” read a City news release.

“Yellowknife’s bid focuses on transforming the traditional lamp post into a beacon of sustainability.

“If successful, Yellowknife lampposts will be outfitted with a range of smart technology, including light dimming technology, that is intended to enhance Yellowknife for residents and visitors.”

Tuesday’s event begins at 5pm and is open to the public, with staff on-hand to provide more information about the bid.