The Lumière Festival Vancouver Society is joining forces with the West End Business Improvement Association (BIA) and the Vancouver Pride Society for Lumière 2015 — a spectacle of lights, live performance and community engagement that will connect three commercial streets in the city’s West End on Friday, Dec 11 and Saturday, Dec 12.
Lumière 2015 will encompass the Davie Village, Vancouver’s queer neighbourhood, as well as Denman and Robson Streets through an innovative lighting scheme that will also include a trolley tour of the West End. Lighting installations will remain in place until early January and all events are free.
Stephen Regan is the executive director of the West End BIA. He says the Vancouver Pride Society is a vital part of bringing Lumière 2015 to life during the holiday season.
“Lighting is going to be the main attraction, but what’s going to animate a lot of the area is our partnership with Pride, bringing out performers and supporters as we help move people around these displays,” Regan says.
Using light as an instrument to bridge communities is hardly a new concept to Vancouverites. Each year, Bright Nights hosts its lighting festival in Stanley Park while the Elm Grove at English Bay has been traditionally adorned with thousands of lights to mark the holiday season.
Regan says it was these kinds of events that helped shape the vision for the Lumière Festival.
“The West End community plan was a two-year initiative led by the City of Vancouver that was updating the community plan for the West End. During that process, we looked around at what was needed to revitalize the area. St Paul’s Hospital has an annual Lights of Hope campaign, so lighting is a big piece of what they do to showcase the hospital’s fundraising initiatives and that happens in November and December, so we went, ‘oh, OK, lighting.’”
The West End BIA partners with the Vancouver Pride Society year-round and has been financially supportive and a strong advocate for the organization otherwise.
Regan says there’s a 10-year plan for Lumière. He hopes the LGBTQ community will play a larger role in the festival as it continues to evolve.
“We want to see where can evolve this over five to 10 years and we’re open to making this a larger downtown Vancouver event. Over time, maybe the BIA steps back a little bit and we focus on lighting in our own area and a new events society emerges out of this,” Regan says.