Light displays, markets, entertainment, and activities from Sapperton to Queensborough are part of this year’s Shine Bright New West.
Running from Dec. 1, 2022 to Jan. 31, 2023, the award-winning Shine Bright New West event features holiday light displays, free events, creative activities and a variety of stage productions to help community members enjoy the winter holiday season. This year’s highlights include nature art in the form of illuminated creatures that will appear in parks across the city, a Winter Solstice themed art exhibition at the Queen’s Park Gallery, and a variety of markets selling holiday and seasonal gifts and goodies.
“We’re excited to make this year’s Shine Bright even bigger and brighter than previous years, and we encourage everyone in the community to participate by putting up their own holiday lights,” said Lisa Kemp, program coordinator.
Mayor Patrick Johnstone said Shine Bright is a great example of a partnership in the community, as it’s a collaboration between the city, the business improvement areas, the arts council, non-profits in the community, and local businesses.
“Working together, we brighten the spirits of the community through the dreariest weather season, light up the holidays, support businesses and the arts community, and bring people together as a community,” he said.
The Downtown New West Business Improvement Association will kick off this year’s Shine Bright Downtown with a gathering at Hyack Square on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 7 to 8 p.m. It will include a brief speech and holiday music, and hot drinks will be provided by Hive Cafe (by donation, with proceeds going to Don’t Go Hungry food support program.
Other events taking place downtown include Winter Celebrations at Anvil Centre (Dec. 21 to 31), where you’ll find Winter World lantern labyrinth, performances and activities, a Downtown Art Walk (Dec. 1 to 31) and Jazz at the Anvil (Dec. 6) featuring Juno Award nominated jazz vocalist, composer and recording artist, Karin Plato.
The City of New Westminster is inviting community members to attend the annual lighting of the Queensborough fire hall (1011 Ewen Ave.) on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the food bank.
So much to do and see
Shine Bright light displays will run from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31, 2023 in various locations around town, including uptown New West, the rose garden in Queen’s Park and Westminster Pier Park. Lights in downtown New Westminster will include a light tunnel on the overpass to River Market, star and snowflake lights along Columbia Street, and eco-art sculptures with lights in Hyack Square.
The eco-art sculpture in Hyack Square is part of the Reasons for the Seasons project, which includes 12 eco-art sculptures created by local artist Nickie Lewis – including Lex the love monster, Gill the generous llama, Cloe the compassionate owl and Jinny a six-foot tall jackalope. The project features 12 reasons that make the holidays special: love, generosity and awe (Ryall Park); unity (Port Royal River Trail); compassion (main branch of New Westminster Public Library); friendship (Tipperary Park/Friendship Gardens); magic (Sapperton Plaza); play (Moody Park); time (Hyack Square); and joy (Queen’s Park).
Shine Bright New West includes a variety of events in neighbourhoods throughout the city – for all ages, from little ones to teenagers to seniors.
Some of this year’s events include downtown shop night and carollers (Dec. 8, 15, 22); a nature art hunt in Moody Park (Dec. 9); a holiday market at city hall (Dec. 10 and 11); Winter Discovery Days (Dec. 17 to Jan. 2) at Fraser River Discovery Centre; a Sapperton Sing and Shop (Dec. 19); an uptown holiday market at Royal City Centre and Westminster Centre (Dec. 23); and street brass roving Christmas Music in the West End (Monday, Dec. 19) and Sapperton (Tuesday, Dec. 20). On Saturday, Dec. 3, a Stained Glass Church tour gives you an opportunity to visit St. Aidan’s, St. Barnabas, Knox, Holy Trinity and St. Mary the Virgin churches to view their beautiful stained glass windows.
Markets include a New West Craft Market at River Market (Saturday, Dec. 17), a Holiday Night Market at River Market (Saturday, Dec. 3) and a winter craft sale at Century House (Saturday, Dec. 3).
Arts, baking, music and entertainment, and assorted community events will keep community members busy throughout the holiday season.
From Dec. 1 to 19, the “Operation Frosty” donation drive is taking place at the Queensborough and Centennial community centres, Century House and the youth centre. Community members can drop off donations of warm coats (new and gently used), new socks (wool only), scarves, boots, and hats (new or gently used), and they will be donated to help the people who have no homes or are street-entrenched to stay warm outdoors this winter.
The fun continues in the new year, with several events planned for January, including a Fortune in Your Hands workshop (ages six and up) at the Queensborough Community Centre on Sunday, Jan. 15 and a family sky lantern workshop at Anvil Centre on Jan. 22. Lunar New Year Cooking (for kids aged six to 12) will run on Jan. 14 and 21, and a Culinary Heritage – Cooking for Lunar New Year event is on Jan. 19 at Olivet Baptist Church.
The New Westminster Firefighters’ Charitable Society’s annual Christmas tree-chipping event is set to take place at city hall on Saturday, Jan. 7 and Sunday, Jan. 8.