Image: Winning animation by Katya R. on display at Lee Square —

Winners of Lights at Lee Square Design Competition 2023

Congratulations to the winners of the Lights at Lee Square Design Competition!

This year's competition theme was: Share How You Celebrate. Community members were invited to create a design inspired by their culture and the holidays and traditions that are meaningful to them.

Check out the winning art and animations on display from dusk till dawn in M.C. Money Lee Square for the rest of the school term! 

Learn more about the winners and runner ups in each entry category, and the inspiration behind their beautiful designs:


Winner: Resilience Through Art: Nauryz Celebration in a Painting | By: Dariya R., UNA Resident

This painting shows the spirit of Nauryz, a Kazakh celebration that represents starting anew and coming together. The main focus is on a young Kazakh girl wearing traditional clothes, representing the strength of her culture that was hidden during the time when the Soviet Union controlled the region. The detailed patterns on her clothes remember a time when Nauryz, like some indigenous celebrations in Canada, was forbidden, and its colorful celebrations were overshadowed by political beliefs. The brushstrokes in the painting bring out the vibrant colors of Nauryz, showing a revival of tradition. This artwork tells a story through pictures, making us think about how cultural traditions can survive even when they face challenges from history.

Runner up: A Celebration for Harmony, Peace and Humanity! | By: Mohammad R., Acadia Park Resident

My design is inspired by the Bengali celebration of "Pahela Boisakh" (New Year's Day) in Bangladesh. It showcases various cultural motifs from the "Mongol Sobhajatra" (procession for the well being) Parade which is a unique way for the Bangladeshi people to celebrate their New Year's Day. In my design, these motifs are enclosed within an outline of the map of Bangladesh to signify its cultural heritage. This map, in turn, is surrounded by the world map to show that this celebration is not limited to Bangladesh only, rather its messages of harmony, peace and humanity are meant to be for everyone in the world. This message is very crucial especially in these recent times, when war and disaster is prevalent in the world and humanity is in need of peaceful harmony. We need to remember that it is also a time for new beginnings, and a time for second chances.


Winner: Celebration of Days Ahead | By: Vanessa Q., UBC Student

New Year's Eve is the most meaningful celebration to me as it is a time of reflection and anticipation. It is an opportunity to express gratitude for moments from the past year, but also, to set new goals and start again. No matter our background, we're united by the shared hope for better days. This design aims to depict these feelings. The birds represent growth and community, the fireworks show excitement, and the city represents the future ahead.

Runner up: Lights to Lead You Home | By Ariel W.

Some of my fondest childhood memories include running around the park with my friends, lanterns in our hands. Lantern festival is a time of remembrance of loved ones, celebration, and community. I incorporated some of the ways I celebrate lantern festival with my family--holding lanterns, eating 元宵 (the round, glutinous rice balls falling off the lantern), and answering lantern riddles (I included one in Chinese text)!


Winner: Philippine Parols: Lighting a path to kindness and hope | By: Katya R., UBC Staff

Note: This image is only a preview of the full animation. Make sure you watch it live in Lee Square! 

Philippine Parols is a holiday tradition that lights up our streets and is a reminder that brings hope and faith. Being a member of the Filipino-Canadian diaspora, a Parol reminds me of home, celebrating with my family, and makes me proud of my heritage. My design showcases how I feel united with strangers in Vancouver whenever I see parols hung up on windows or balconies because I know I'm not alone. In times of darkness and when the feeling of homesickness is paramount, Parols illuminate a clear path of positivity by exuding the vibrant and warm holiday spirit that is innately Filipino.

Have ideas for Lights at Lee Square?

Campus + Community Planning invites the community to share their ideas for animating Lee Square plaza with the light projector. If you have a fun idea to animate campus after dark, reach out to us at: