It’s the Chinese Lunar New Year around the corner.
Now, if you live in Metro Vancouver, you may must have noticed, in recent weeks, the red lanterns and dog-shaped paper-cuttings hung high up in the malls you shop, restaurants you dine, small alleys you pass by, and if you’ve got tickets to the Canucks-Boston Bruins game on February 17, chances are you’ll see the boys warming up wearing red lucky dragon jerseys.
With more than 450,000 people of a Chinese descent living in the Greater Vancouver area, you will have to make a real effort to escape from the celebration each year closer to the Chinese New Year. To the Chinese Canadian community, it means more than just a holiday celebration but, rather, a reminder of their Chinese roots. And this year, we invite you to spend some time in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.
The history of early Chinese immigrants dates back to even before the incorporation of the City of Vancouver in 1886. As a matter of fact, Vancouver’s Chinatown was born in the same year as the city with 90 Chinese residents settling down on Carrall Street and East Pender (at the time Dupont) Street. Generations after, Vancouver now has the second-largest Chinatown in North America. Its rich history, unique architecture design and numerous festive events make Chinatown one of the best places to experience authentic Chinese New Year in the city.
Vancouver Chinatown was granted as a National Historic Site in 2011. Whether it’s the Millennium Gate at Pender Street and Taylor Street, the famous Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden located at 578 Carrall Street, or the quirky Sam Kee Building, known as the world’s narrowest building, at 8 Pender Street, strolling down the streets, you will see many attractions that tell stories of generations of Chinese Canadians, and now, thanks to many young entrepreneurs, the stories of many other cultural communities and groups.
For those of you who are looking for options for this Chinese New Year, here’re a few events you might want to check out around Chinatown!
The 45th Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade
Join the 45th Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Parade on Sunday, February 18 starting 11 a.m. for feature lion dances, marching bands and cultural dance performances. And yes, there’ll be martial arts performance!
The 1.3-km long route starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street (between Shanghai Alley and Taylor Street), proceeds east along Pender Street, turns south onto Gore Street, turns west onto Keefer Street and then disperses on Keefer at Abbott.
The Year of the Dog Temple Fair
To level up from watching dragon/lion dances and dine out with families at a Chinese restaurant, there’s another form of celebration that will give you a real taste of Chinese New Year – the Temple Fair (廟會). Traditionally, Chinese people gather near temples during important holidays for ritual ceremonies. Gradually, Temple Fairs start to include more elements such as various entertaining performances and vendors of all sorts. Now, Chinese New Year Temple Fairs are great ways for Chinese to greet, meet and wish each other best of luck in the new year. So come to the Year of Dog Temple Fair at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden this February 18. Apart from Gong Fu Cha performances, Chinese calligraphy showcases, Mandarin and Cantonese storytelling events, there’ll also be “community elders giving away red envelopes”!
Having said all these, from Choice Communication, we’d like to sincerely wish you all the best at this Chinese New Year. Gong Hay Fat Choy! Guo Nian Hao!