Edmonton couple's donation allows Kipnes Lantern to light up National Arts Centre on Remembrance Day


As Remembrance Day ceremonies take place across the country Monday, an Edmonton couple’s contribution will be seen in the nation’s capital as thousands of falling poppies light up the National Arts Centre.

After ceremonies take place at the National War Memorial near Parliament Hill, the Kipnes Lantern, named after Edmonton philanthropists Dianne and Irving Kipnes, will project a display of 117,000 falling poppies on the nearby National Arts Centre. Each poppy signifies a Canadian soldier since the beginning of the First World War.

“It really recognizes the sacrifices those veterans made and are still making. I can’t imagine being 17 or 18 and going off to war and recognizing that my life was going to end in a very bad way,” said Dianne Kipnes. “It makes us both feel very proud that we could do that.”

The Kipnes Lantern was unveiled on New Year’s Eve in 2017 after the couple donated $5 million during the last round of renovations on the National Arts Centre. The multi-sided holographic LED lantern is now used to advertise different acts that are going on inside the building as well as different events across the country.

One of the largest LED screens in North America, Jayne Watson, CEO of the National Arts Centre Foundation, calls the lantern one of the buildings “signature features.”

“It shows what is happening in the arts across Canada. I have looked up in the past and seen, for example, the Edmonton Opera profiled on the lantern,” said Watson.

After it previously displayed leaves on Canada Day and glowed bright for anti-bullying day, both Kipnes agreed the falling poppies display is their favourite.

The Kipnes have previously supported veteran causes, raising funds to help open the CapitalCare Kipnes Centre of Veterans in Edmonton.