Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, February 10 this year. But Vancouver has to wait until Sunday, February 17 for the Chinese New Year Parade – the ultimate Chinese New Year event – to celebrate the start of the Year of the Snake.
As you probably know, Chinese New Year (a.k.a. Lunar New Year or Spring Festival) is one of the most significant traditional Chinese holidays and it gets a heck of a party going in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown – the third largest Chinatown in all of North America.
Over 3,000 people participate in the parade, creating a seriously vibrant spectacle. The parade boasts the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada, Chinese Canadian dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts experts, the Vancouver Police Department motorcycle drill team and various other multicultural and community groups. Some 50,000 Vancouverites turn out in the streets, rain or shine to cheer them on.
Before we go into the parade route, which is longer this year to accommodate all the new participants, it’s worth noting that the Chinese New Year Parade is one of the largest non-commercial annual parades in Vancouver. It’s pretty cool that the Chinatown neighbourhood institutions including the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver and the Chinese Freemasons have worked together to keep this going for 40 years.
Find details on the parade route after the jump.
The Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade starts at 11am and takes 2.5 hours from start to finish. According to the organizers, the 2013 parade route has been adjusted to allow for additional parade participants. 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 Taylor.
Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade Route Map – larger map image here
After the parade, the free fun continues at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Cultural Fair located at the Sun Yat-Sen Plaza (50 East Pender Street). The fair will feature multicultural performances, a special lion dance grand finale, martial arts demonstrations and more.
You can also catch Lion Dance troupes moving throughout Chinatown from 2pm-4pm, dancing at local businesses to bring luck prosperity for the coming year.
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