WHO WE ARE
How it all began
Over five decades ago ...
Roger L’Heureux got into designing water features while working for a plumbing manufacturing company, when he was asked to help with the design of a water feature in Toronto. At this time there weren’t many commercial water features companies.
EXPO '67 gave us our start
As it often happens, word got out and Roger’s side-hustle—creating municipal fountains which turned into the start of Crystal Fountains. Although he didn’t have a company set up, or financial backing, Roger was brought in by the same engineers he had previously worked with on the municipal water features to collaborate with sculptor and architect Gerald Gladstone on three water features for EXPO ‘67 pavilions in Montreal.
Without realizing it at the time, Roger’s innovation in creating water features seemed simple. In a way, it was like the wild west in how the water features came together. He once said,
“In those days, there were no courses to take and only a few books on the subject. You just pushed water at high pressure to as high as it could go.”
Fast forward over 55 years, and our investment in working with our clients has led us to be a globally-recognized leader in water features, having an impact on lives in countries all over the world.
1960s - Beginnings and EXPO '67
- 1967: Crystal Fountains was founded by Mechanical Engineer Roger L’Heureux as a designer and builder of commercial water features.
- 1967: Roger’s first official project was at EXPO ‘67 in Montreal in collaboration with Canadian sculptor and architect, Gerald Gladstone.
1970s - Creative Design and Product Manufacturing Additions
- 1972: Our first Creative Director, Doug Duff, joined Crystal Fountains. Doug established a culture that taught the importance of placemaking and creating emotional connections to a space that continues to influence our design team today.
- 1978: Crystal acquired Decorative Fountain Company (DEFO), a manufacturer of water feature equipment established in 1962. This signals the true beginning of our manufacturing capabilities.
- The 1970s were the period of the ‘Shopping Mall Boom’ in Canada, which led to Crystal’s work with many Canadian property developers and architects.
- Projects during this period included the Toronto Eaton Centre, Place Ville Marie in Montréal, The Three Graces, and a number of Melvin Simon properties.
1980s - First Mockup Facility and Roger’s Retirement
- 1985: Our first mockup facility was created to add application tests to our water feature design capabilities.
- 1986: We participated in EXPO ‘86, our second World Expo, in Vancouver, Canada.
- 1987: We divested from our work as a water feature installer and decided to focus solely on water feature design and manufacturing.
- 1988: Roger retired and his sons Paul and David took over the growing company, setting on a path to expand globally.
- Projects during this period included Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Canada, and Place Montreal Trust in Montreal, Canada.
1990s - Global Expansion and Increased R&D Investment
- 1992: We participated in EXPO ‘92, our third World Expo in Seville, Spain, at the Canadian Pavilion. This was Crystal’s first project in Europe.
- EXPO ‘92 led to the future hiring of Michael Denman, our first Director of Overseas Business Development. This was the beginning of Crystal’s global expansion into Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
- 1998: George Ayer, our first Chief Innovation Officer, joined Crystal. George’s hiring marked the start of a true Research & Development (R&D) division at Crystal whose sole focus is to develop new products and technology for the water feature industry.
- 1998: Our first waterswitch (later patented as the ChoreoSwitch®), was installed at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) in Kuala Lumpur. This was Crystal’s first involvement with water sequencing devices in water features.
- 1999: Following the launch of the waterswitch, the pneumatic leaper was installed at the Kansas City Science Centre in Kansas City, USA. This project later won an American Institute of Architects (AIA) award.
- Additional projects during this time included Cribbs Causeway in the UK, The Center in Hong Kong, Taipei Financial Center in Taiwan, and Zayed Sports Center in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
2000s - First LED Lighting in the Water Feature Industry and Continued Growth
- By the start of the century, Crystal’s projects included more than 800 museums, parks, recreation centres, commercial and municipal buildings, hotels, casinos, and shopping centres.
- 2001: Crystal launched our first line of interactive splash pad products into the water feature industry.
- 2004: The Crown Fountain at Millennium Park in Chicago, USA, led by artist Jaume Plenza, opened. Crystal acted as the water feature designer and effects developer for this feature at the ‘world’s largest roof-top garden’.
- 2005: Aligned with the beginning of the ‘LED Light revolution’, Crystal’s R&D department launched the first-ever LED light for the water feature industry.
- 2007: Due to the increased number of projects in the Middle East, Crystal opened our office in Dubai.
- 2008: Crystal participated in our first cruise ship project, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Oasis of the Seas’. At the time, it was the world’s largest cruise ship and featured a Las Vegas-style Aquatheater with an accompanying splash pad at its stern.
- Additional projects during this time included the World Voices water feature at the Burj Khalifa with artist Jaume Plenza in Dubai, UAE; Gateway to Umhlanga in Durban, South Africa; White Square in Moscow, Russia; and Metropolitan in Warsaw, Poland.
2010s - Celebrating 50 Years, WATERlab™ and Iconic Global Projects.
- 2010: Crystal opens our office in Warsaw to serve Eastern and Central Europe.
- 2010: Following the hiring of Vince Francis, our Chief Technology Officer in 2009, Crystal began developing WATERlab™, the water feature industry’s first physics-based simulation software.
- 2015: Crystal participated in EXPO 2015, our fourth world Expo, in Milan, Italy. The Tree of Life water feature became one of the largest projects we have participated in to date.
- 2017: Crystal celebrated our 50th anniversary.
- The 2010s were also a period of continued R&D investment in water feature hardware. This period saw the launch of the pneumatic Spyra nozzle (the first multidirectional deck level nozzle), new LED lighting technology (including RGBACL and Tunable white), and Crystal’s air-driven Titan jets.
- Projects during this period included the renovation of Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, USA; the Palace of Versailles outside of Paris, France; Cairo Festival City in Cairo, Egypt; and the Fontaine du Quai Paquet in Québec City, Canada.
2020 - WATERlab's Evolution and EXPO 2020
- 2020: Next phase of WATERlab™ (CREATE) is launched; our simulation software expanded to be a full water feature control system that allows for remote startups, advanced installation diagnostics and more user-friendly artistic programming.
- Projects during this period included EXPO 2020; Brentwood in Burnaby, Canada; Evergy Plaza in Topeka, USA; Tulmer Place in Ipswich, Australia; and SOFI Stadium in California, USA.
What our clients say...
You should be proud of your outstanding work! Once again, Thank you.”
Who we are
Crystal Fountains is a globally recognized leader in the commercial water feature industry. Our clients and their project’s success are at the core of everything we do. From design to parts to maintenance, we’re with you for your fountain’s entire lifecycle.