The city is giving Chinatown a facelift in an effort to brighten the community for Olympic visitors and encourage new investment and activity in one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods.

Improvement projects include painting lively murals, replacing old awnings, renovating the facades of empty storefronts and heritage buildings, and installing a five-storey neon sign at Keefer and Columbia Streets.

One hundred red lanterns are also being put up in celebration of the Lunar New Year, which will be marked with a parade on Feb. 14.

“We want to make sure Chinatown draws its share of attention from visitors,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“We’ve been working closely with the community to address (its) needs and bring economic prosperity back to this historic part of our city.”

The city and the Chinatown Business Improvement Association also announced they’re holding a second window display contest, where students from Langara College’s Design Formation program create displays for five shops that celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The public can vote for their favourite design until Feb. 5. For more information on the contest visit


Correction - January 31, 2010, 1:55 p.m. PST: We incorrectly identified the name of the Langara College program as Design Formulation program. In fact, it is the Design Formation program that the Chinatown B.I.A. is collaborating with.

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