Vancouver’s 14 laughing men statues in English Bay have been a featured tourist attraction for the last two and a half years, but their fate in the city was in jeopardy. The sculptures belonged to artist Yue Minjun who loaned the “A-mazing Laughter” exhibition to the city, and they were originally intended to be a temporary attraction.
But, according to an article by the CBC, Chip Wilson, owner of Lululemon, donated $1.5 million to the Park Board to buy the statues.
Yue Minjun accepted the offer, and dropped his asking price from $5 million. According to the article, he decided that the statues should remain in a public space.
The Park Board had previously confirmed an anonymous donor had stepped forward to save the statues, but the final decision was only approved on Monday.
Tourists will no doubt enjoy the attraction, but it is equally as important for English Bay residents. In the last two years, the statues have become a central feature of the neighbourhood, adding both character and energy to the area.