A 45-foot neon sign installed on the exterior of Chinatown Plaza at the corner of Keefer and Quebec is poised to become a new landmark for Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.
As part of the City of Vancouver’s New Beginnings program, which celebrates the history, heritage and culture of the city's first urban areas, the new sign will improve the exterior appearance of the city-owned Chinatown Plaza building, bring additional lighting to the neighbourhood and increase night-time programming and business opportunities for local merchants.
“Vancouver's Chinatown was historically a vibrant business hub decorated with colourful neon signs, and we’re determined to bring economic prosperity back to the neighbourhood," said Mayor Gregor Robertson at a ceremony today to switch on the new neon sign. "By taking the lead to invest in this spectacular neon sign, we hope to encourage individual businesses to install their own signs.
"Chinatown has always been an important tourist attraction in our city and we are committed to working with the community to make this a must-see destination for international visitors as well as an exciting shopping area for local residents."
Strategically located near key attractions in Chinatown, such as the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Garden and the Chinatown Memorial Square, the bilingual sign (“Chinatown Plaza” in English and “Chinatown welcomes you” in Chinese) incorporates traditional and contemporary design elements and ideas from the community. The lanterns represent festivity and the swirling ribbon is reminiscent of the shape and energy of a dragon.
In addition to the Chinatown neon sign, another sign outside the historic Pennsylvania Hotel at 412 Carrall Street was completed in early 2009. A third sign, to be installed at the Rainier Hotel at 309 Carrall Street, is currently under construction.