Victoria Park Lantern Festival

The Lantern Installation

The Lantern Installation is a key part of the festival’s magical appeal. The steep topography of the upper park is the perfect canvas on which to display the creative efforts of the community’s lantern building. The installation varies from year to year, and each year there is something new. The installation is one of the most logistically complicated parts of the festival and is entirely a volunteer effort.

The Lantern Installation Manual (2012)

Making it Happen

The installation team starts before the day of the festival to organize tools and equipment. We meet early on the day to ferry the lanterns and equipment up the hill from the pool house. Some heavy items like the 500 glass jar lanterns are taken by truck or car and the bamboo lanterns are all carried up by hand. Ropes and lines are tied, caution tape is put up and lanterns are hung and secured. Organization is key to the success of the installation.

Just before dusk and the procession, the lanterns in the installation are lit. The installation is a beautiful back drop and foreground to the fire show and performance. After the fire show, the peaceful quiet glow of the lanterns in the installation creates an ambiance in the park that is difficult to describe. It is best to just come and experience it.

Key Things to Learn

Lead installation volunteers must give the Lantern Installation Manual a careful read to get an idea of how to prepare and plan for the installation. Of course, all installation volunteers are encouraged to read it. The main skill to practice and learn before event day is how to tie KNOTS. The two knots to know for the Installation are:

  • Everyone should know the half hitch (double half hitch, actually). This knot is used to secure all the lines to the trees. This knot is easy to learn and best of all easy to untie when it comes time for take down.
  • And a few people should know the bow line (a loop knot) which is used for the fish line and to pull down the high line 🙂


Over the winter of 2010 Dougal Dunbar, our lead installation volunteer from 2008 to 2010 wrote up the Lantern Installation Manual. He did this in preparation of his departure from the province and we are very grateful. It is an invaluable parting gift that brings together not only Dougal’s own expertise, but 3 years of installation experience. The manual is a resource that ensures the continued success and creativity of the installation. The manual was updated in 2012 by Dougal Dunbar and Tali Smith.