Chinatown Banners Go Up!



DOWNTOWN WINNIPEG—Eighteen new street banners celebrating the calm sophistication of the Year of the Hare will be raised in Chinatown today as part of the Downtown BIZ’s annual Chinatown Banner Competition.

The winning banner design by a Red River College student was selected from 48 entries by a jury made up in part by members from the Chinese community.

The winning designer, Heather Zimmerman, is a second year Red River College Graphic Design student who attends school not far from where the banners will be displayed. She will receive an $400 honorarium, with an additional $400 going to the Creative Arts second year Graphic Design Open House. The banner will be officially unveiled at the Kum Koon Garden banquet on February 9 at about 8:30pm, 257 King Street.

The jury selected the design because it was original and eye-catching. The banner captures the refinement, sophistication and calm demeanor of the Hare. It incorporates elements of traditional Chinese art through the use of paper cuts while presenting a fresh, contemporary look.

“I chose to do paper-cuts because not only are they beautiful, but they hold a lot of historical significance in Chinese culture,” says Zimmerman. Originating in the early 6th century, paper cutting was seen in sacred rituals, and over the centuries it became more and more popular as a means of decoration. She adds that red is the most celebrated colour in the Chinese culture, symbolizing good fortune, and she used blue in the background because it portrays calmness, healing and relaxation.

“I think people will be pleasantly surprised seeing this year’s design,” says Stefano Grande, Downtown BIZ Executive Director. “The design is a departure from what we have selected in the past, so I think it will make quite a splash in Chinatown. These banners are a great way to showcase our local talent and create interest in this unique district.”

The new banners will join 18 district banners currently on light poles which celebrate the Chinatown area.

All banner submissions will be on display in the skywalk in Portage Place outside of Manitoba Hydro Place’s skywalk entrance from February 11 to March 31.

The annual contest is hosted by the Downtown BIZ and the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown. The winning designs are mounted on poles in the six square blocks surrounded by Main Street, Princess Street, Logan Avenue and James Avenue.