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Over the Moon: Celebrate the Lunar New Year

Kick off the Lunar New Year with parades, performances and Peking duck

Jan./Feb. 2018


Colourful dragon dancers in the Spring Festival Parade. (Photo by Michael Wheatley/Tourism Vancouver)

It’s time to bid zàijiàn (farewell) to the year of the rooster and usher in one of the friendliest animals in the Chinese zodiac: the dog. But before you board the Canada Line SkyTrain to nearby Richmond—home to a thriving majority Chinese population—check out the spectacular celebrations happening throughout downtown Vancouver.

Follow the crowds through the towering Millennium Gate and into the heart of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, one of the largest in the world. On Feb. 18, more than 100,000 spectators line the streets for the Spring Festival Parade, a jubilant exercise in sensory overload. Traditional lion dancers, some of whom have participated in this parade since it began in 1974, are joined by cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts displays and more, including performances by other Asian communities—the Sikh Motorcycle Club is a crowd favourite.

Follow the lion dancers to various venues in Chinatown for repeat performances. You can also catch them at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden—named the World’s Top City Garden by National Geographic—where the annual Temple Fair turns serene surroundings into a bustling fete full of auspicious activities, such as calligraphy workshops. The garden also hosts a Lantern Festival on weekend evenings from Feb. 16 to Mar. 4. Stroll one block west to find a multi-storey flurry of festive fun at International Village Mall (Feb. 16 to 18). Stock up on souvenirs at the multicultural craft and flower market, then explore the art exhibits, family-friendly games and live entertainment. If you need a guide, book a tour with A Wok Around or Historical Chinatown Tours.

Worked up an appetite? Start with dim sum at Floata or contemporary Chinese cuisine at one of the modern eateries featured in this post, or venture deeper into the downtown core for Peking duck at Kirin. When your belly’s full, feast your eyes on a stunning aerial view of China’s most beloved landmarks during FlyOver Canada’s (Jan. 18 to Feb. 18) special-edition flight ride, Come Soar Over China. Then feed your soul with the sweet sound of Grammy Award–nominated 12 Girls Band at the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s Lunar New Year concert (Feb. 19). Gung Hay Fat Choy!

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