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City hall lights up like a disco ball

January 18th, 2010 · 3 Comments

Over the last week, a faithful reader from Yaletown has been emailing me to say that lights have been flashing from city hall.

To quote Paul exactly: “City Hall has a whole new flashy external light system . . .  a whole series of white horizontal lights that they can flash like a disco.

They tested this system out a few times over the Holidays . . .  quite a show.

What gives . . .  must for the games.”

(To see for yourself, go here)

As it turns out, they were testing out a piece of …. public art! Which is now in full operation as per their news release today.

City Hall lights up Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program

Mayor Gregor Robertson turned on the outdoor lights of City Hall today, bringing to life Ice Light by German artist Gunda Förster, one of more than 20 public art works celebrating the City’s Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program for the 2010 Winter Games.

“I am pleased to mark the launch of our new Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program with Ice Light, a sparkling new light-emitting diode (LED) display on the edges of City Hall,” the Mayor said. “This work is not only beautiful, it will also reduce the power consumption of City Hall’s exterior lights by 70 per cent.

“This wonderful collection of public art gives local, national and international artists an opportunity to showcase their skills to the world during the Olympics.”

The Mayor also announced the details of two projects commissioned under the Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program. “THE WORDS DON’T FIT THE PICTURE,” created for the Vancouver Central Library South Plaza (at Robson and Homer) by Vancouver artist Ron Terada, is a permanent light-based work that playfully references the City’s neon past. A new permanent work will also be developed for the Olympic/Paralympic Centre at Hillcrest Park for after the Games. An independent jury will announce the selected artist at the end of January.

The Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program took more than two years to design and is the City’s most ambitious public art program to date. The $5.95 million program includes more than 20 new permanent and temporary public artworks commissioned for the 2010 Games and created by some of today’s most exciting established and emerging contemporary artists from Vancouver, Canada and the world.

The diverse projects range from grand light-based works and sculptural installations at iconic landmarks, to celebratory works in the heart of Vancouver’s communities.  The City has also partnered with the Vancouver Art Gallery and Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad on several large-scale outdoor projects.  All projects will be in place by Games-time.

To enhance viewers’ enjoyment of the new public art, a number of educational tools have been created. Mobile audio guides are available for people who would like to hear the artists talk about their works and learn more.  Viewers can call 604.998.8038 and hear the information about the artwork they’re interested in (mobile phone users should note roaming charges may apply).

Specially commissioned short films about the artists are posted in the City’s Media Room at Knowledge, BC’s public education broadcaster, will air the films on television during the winter months. For more information, visit  The films will also be screened on Enroute TV, Air Canada’s in-flight entertainment system, in February and March 2010.

For more information about the Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program, visit the City of Vancouver’s Host City website at

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  • landlord

    I promise not to make any jokes about dim bulbs. The Hall display kind of reminds me of Grace McCarthy’s fondness for putting light bulbs on things for Expo. That being said, art is great and everything but $6 million seems kind of steep. I mean, that’s $300K per item. You could almost buy a condo for that. Or pay rent for 25 years.

  • L’il Rural Lib

    Oh well, one man’s art is another man’s squandered money.

  • Bill Lee

    No mention though of the slicing of ex-Strathcona Park on which sits City Hall for another slice of tarmac to make Cambie, our new traffic freeway, wider.
    They cut shrubbery and a large portion of the west side of the park away by the flag poles to widen the road. There’s the priorities.

    And the lamented Caribou and Van Horne Parks on the East side is to be further trashed with the seismically questionable Glenayre building, given in a suspicious deal to Vanoc, now to the police.
    I can just see the fights now as they try to navigate their cars, (they don’t use enough bikes) through the daily First Avenue or Hastings blockages, When it snows, both roads west are blocked and impassable for several hours.
    And then when prisoners cross the street (Boundary) they are in RCMP (Burnaby Police) territory. I can see the fights now. Will the horsemen give speeding tickets on Boundary to Shitty cops as they race up Boundary to Hastings intersection?