Vancouver is a young city.
Her youth is exhibited in nature, always refreshing and vibrant.
Her youth is displayed by the people, always curious and imaginative.
Her youth is celebrated by the movements, always progressive and provocative.
Lanterns are an art form long in existence.
It functions as a light.
It serves as an inspiration.
It is also known as a celebration.
Vancouver is the Lantern City.
A city that never forgets its origins.
A city that sees no boundaries.
A city that embraces possibilities.
It’s all about the beginning of
the land, the people and our future.
In 2018, Tourism Vancouver approached LunarFest to explore ways to celebrate Lunar New Year traditions in Vancouver. The agenda is to celebrate LNY like no other, which was the vision for LunarFest since its inception from the 2010 Winter Olympics.
LunarFest invited the Society of We Are Canadians Too to help realize the project. Coastal Lunar Lanterns were introduced to celebrate this important Asian tradition with the first people of the land. Artists of Coastal Salish origin, xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), were featured in the first edition of Coastal Lunar Lanterns at Jack Poole Plaza. In addition, another indigenous artist from Atayai in Taiwan was incorporated in the presentation. Neither indigenous people had Lunar New Year as their tradition but they embraced the invitation gracefully.
The first edition of Coastal Lunar Lanterns was also introduced to the world’s largest lantern festival in Taiwan in 2020. Over 10 million people attended the Taiwan Lantern Festival. The connection between the indigenous artists of Canada and Taiwan continues in 2021.
The concept of the Lantern City was first imagined when Coastal Lunar Lanterns received an overwhelming response and more artists expressed their desire to take part. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, the plan was to introduce community lanterns in 2021 that would be displayed around town and feature artists to reflect our city’s diversity. The plan is always about engaging artists who don’t always celebrate the LNY but are passionate about sharing their stories with one of the most important Asian traditions.
The Society of We Are Canadians Too takes on the development of the Lantern City with LunarFest as a partner starting with the 2021 event. Despite the lingering pandemic, the Community Lanterns launched in English Bay at Davie and Denman St. The Coastal Lunar Lanterns were presented at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, north of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
In 2022, we are excited to welcome Granville Island to the Lantern City family with Forever Young at Ocean Art Works. The community lanterns, We are a family, will be presented at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, north of the Vancouver Art Gallery.