Participate in the Lights of Courage Campaign

Lights of Courage

Each year, thousands of people purchase paper lanterns from Fairway Market, our Presenting Sponsor, and bring them on-site during the Festival weekend, on Saturday night. A picturesque display is hung on the water’s edge, overlooking the night views of the Inner Harbour.

What is the Lights of Courage Campaign?

Each lantern carries a tag that bears a message of hope or remembrance for those affected by cancer. This moving display honours their battles with cancer and shares their stories with the community, and all proceeds from lantern sales are donated to the BC Cancer Foundation.
The lantern colours are beautiful, adding magic to the evening. But the colours are not nearly as breathtaking as the hand-written messages on the tags. Messages are filled with hope, humour, grief, love, and inspiration.

Write your wishes for a healthy and long future. Write a poem of remembrance. Write a name and nothing more. Write whatever you want – and fill the lantern with light.

All net proceeds (1$ from each sale) go to the BC Cancer Foundation.

How to Participate

Buy a lantern

Buy a lantern. Write a message on your lantern’s tag – write your wishes for a healthy and long future. Write a poem of remembrance. Write a name and nothing more. Write whatever you want – and fill the lantern with “light”.

From the start of the summer, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival sells colourful Chinese paper lanterns at local Fairway Markets stores. Each lantern comes with a paper tag, on which you can write a message as a tribute to anyone you knew who has been diagnosed with cancer or has battled some other disease.

Hang your lantern

Join us in a moving show of courage and community. At 7:45 pm on Friday, the Lights of Courage ceremony will take place. Lanterns will be illuminated around 8:15 pm as thousands of fellow supporters look on. The opportunity to hang your lantern continues from Saturday morning until mid-day Sunday.

Your lanterns remain hung throughout the Festival, and will be joined by many others over the course of the weekend.

Make a donation

All proceeds from lantern sales support the BC Cancer Foundation, an organization that supports world-class research taking place right here in Victoria.

You don’t need to wait until the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival to support this incredible organization, though – make a donation today.



About the BC Cancer Foundation

We are a fundraising partner of BC Cancer. Every dollar we raise stays right here at BC Cancer to advance research and enhance care for the people of B.C. At the BC Cancer Foundation we believe that with your help BC CAN make a difference in the lives of all British Columbians. We know that one in two people in our province will face cancer in their lifetime and we’re igniting progress to break down cancer, piece by piece, in the labs and clinics. BC CAN improve treatments for patients. BC CAN harness genomics to save lives. BC CAN prevent cancer for the next generation. By working with people like you, who believe that investments in science and enhancements to care can make a significant difference for British Columbians, we are confident that BC CAN change the outcome for each person facing this disease.

About the BC Cancer Agency

BC Cancer is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. For more information, visit


Since 1995

Since 1995, the Lights of Courage Campaign, Paddlers’ Pledge Drive, and festival weekend fundraising efforts has raised upwards of a million dollars in support of Cancer Research and Treatment.

Prior to 2008

Over $126,000 was raised in support of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation since the inception of the Paddlers’ Pledge Drive in 2001 and the Lights of Courage Campaign in 2006. The funds raised went towards the purchase of equipment and machinery for the early detection and treatment of cancer.