The shortest month of the year is one of the sweetest. This February there’s plenty of celebrating with Chinese New Year February 10, and Vancouver’s largest ever Chinese New Year Parade taking place Sunday, February 17.
Most families get to spend the day together on Family Day February 11 – a B.C. holiday. And let’s not forget the mid-month, cupid-inspired smoochathon known as Valentine’s Day. There are Vancouver events for cuddlers and haters.
When it comes to eating well – and in Vancouver we always have to cover dining out – you’ve got your pick. The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival runs through February 14, giving chocolate connoisseurs the chance to sample all sorts of specialty drinks – made with single origin chocolates and embellished with maple bacon marshmallows – at cafes around town. Meanwhile Food Truck Fest at the Vancouver Winter Farmers Market runs all February. Don’t miss Dumpling Fest – a part of the CIBC LunarFest party at the Vancouver Art Gallery Feb. 15-17. Vancouver International Wine Festival kicks off at the end of the month, attracting wine enthusiasts from all over the world to our fair town.
Find the full list of February fun after the jump.
20 Unmissable Vancouver Events in February 2013
1) Creativity in Motion: Springs, Sprockets and Pulleys at Science World, Feb. 1
Combine an overactive imagination with sculptural art and the mechanics of motion and yo get Science World’s new, wacky exhibit. In the the hands of genius Steve Gerberich common household items become mechanical art. A teapot is a face made of nuts and bolts. A lawnmower can become a scary sea creature. You’ll have to see this highly entertaining exhibit to believe it.
2) Free Ice Skating in Robson Square, through Feb. 28
Last call for a skate in the heart of downtown Vancouver! It’s free if you B.Y.O.S. (Bring your own skates.) Rentals are also available onsite.
3) PuSh Performing Arts Festival , through Feb. 3
Catch the final days of an edgy festival in the performing arts sector featuring theatre, dance, music and multimedia from around the world. Read up on the events in Remy’s PuSh Festival Preview with 5 must-see shows.
4) Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2013, through February 3
Last call for Dine Out! Canada’s largest restaurant festival allows diners to sample menus from hundreds of restaurants around the city, all for a prix fixe cost (price points are $18, $28 and $38 per person). Dine Out also offers a full menu of unique food-themed events and activities, including culinary tours, cooking lessons and special dining experiences.
5) Super Bowl XLVII, Feb. 3
A super good time featuring the clash between Baltimore’s Ravens and San Francisco’s 49ers. Kickoff is at 3:30pm Vancouver time. The “official Vancouver Super Bowl party” takes place at Commodore Ballroom. And Remy’s posted on your 5 best Vancouver Super Bowl party options here.
6) The Secret World of Sharks and Rays at Vancouver Aquarium, February 7-April 30
When you hear “shark” you think of great whites chomping surfboards Jaws-style. But that’s only because you haven’t been to the newest and quite possibly the coolest exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium. Get an up close look (through the glass) at one of the ocean’s least-understood and most-feared creatures.
7) The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, through Feb. 14
The Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival believes that chocolate makes people happy. Who’s going to argue with that? The third annual celebration of hot chocolate gives you the chance to try over 60 varieties of dense drinkable chocolate including the world’s rarest chocolate. You’ll be equally impressed with the flourishes, from decadent maple-bacon marshmallows to delicate raspberry macarons.
9) February Food Truck Fest at Vancouver Winter Farmers Market, Saturdays throughout February
Vancouver’s food trucks just keep on trucking – collaborating on more exciting opportunities for diners in search of food cart pods. Vancouver Farmers Markets is hosting its first ever February Food Truck Fest. All February, you’ll find double the usual number of food trucks at the Winter Farmers Market, held Saturdays from 10am to 2pm at Nat Bailey Stadium at 30th and Ontario. Yes, there’s tented seating and live entertainment.
10) Chinese New Year, Feb. 10
Lunar New Year – aka Chinese New Year – is an ancient and well-loved holiday for a variety of East Asian cultures. Most of the Year of the Snake celebrations, including the Vancouver Chinese New Year parade and the Spring Cultural fair, take place the following weekend, although there’s plenty of festive lion dancin on the actual day.
11) Family Day, Feb. 11
This is a holiday for all B.C. residents (except federal workers and Telus employees) that’s intended to bring loved ones together. If you get to take the day off, there’s a lot of fun to be had. Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver Art Gallery, BC Sports Hall of Fame and many more venues have special Family Day activity programs and discounts on admission.
12) Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14
An opportunity to make a card, consume some lovely chocolate and wheedle a massage out of your boo. Stay tuned for our round up of Valentine’s Day activities including romantic restaurant and staycation deals, as well as day-trips for the active.
13) 9th Annual Unsung Heroes Festival at Blue Water Cafe, Feb. 1-28
If you don’t delight in mackerel, jellyfish and periwinkles just yet, you will after this. For the past decade Executive Chef Frank Pabst has championed the local, sustainable fisheries movement, spotlighting under-utilized species known as “unsung heroes.” In his capable hands they transform from bizarre to tempting treats. For example: “Sea Urchin Scallop Mousse with Ponzu Jelly.”
14) CIBC LunarFest, Feb. 15-17
It started as a multicultural event for the Olympics and has evolved to be one of the most popular offbeat Chinese New Year celebrations. Head on over to the Vancouver Art Gallery to celebrate with art and performances from a variety of Asian cultures. You’ll find stunning visuals such as a “Lantern Jungle,” lion dances and, best of all, Dumpling Fest – with plump, doughy treats from China, Vietnam, Korea and Japan.
15) Chinese New Year Parade, Feb. 17
We hear Vancouver’s 40th annual Chinese New Year Parade is going to be bigger and better than ever with lion dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts performances and a new multicultural team component. The parade starts at 11am and will feature over sixty performance groups – that’s 3,000 participants from various community groups – drawing 50,000 spectators. This year the parade route is longer to accommodate all the new talent. 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.
16) Chinese New Year Lion Dances, Feb. 17
There are many Lion Dances to choose from come Chinese New Year, but there’s no better back drop than historic Chinatown. Get “front row seats” by sticking around after the parade as the lions visit local merchants to dance, giving them good fortune for the coming year. This will start right after the parade from approximately 2pm to 4pm.
17) Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival – Cultural Fair, Feb. 16-17
Did you enjoy the Chinese New Year Parade? Take your celebration and/or cultural inquiry to the next level at the free Spring Fair int he Sun Yat Sen Plaza where you can catch more demos including martial arts and a Lion Dance Grand Finale. The events run Saturday, February 16 from, 1pm to 4pm (with the opening ceremony at 1pm) and Sunday, February 17, 2pm to 4pm.
18) Talking Stick Festival, Feb. 19-March 3
An annual, vibrant citywide festival provides a stage for extraordinary Aboriginal artists – established and emerging, national and international – performing live theatre, music, dance and storytelling. Events at venues throughout town including the Yaletown Roundhouse and the Cultch. You can view the whole program here. Buy tickets here.
19) Winterruption on Granville Island, Feb. 22-24
Winter is boring. So get out and play on Granville Island. This free, family-friendly festival features lots of kids activities (art, clowns, stilt walkers, face painting, music). Grown ups aren’t neglected. There’s also live jazz, stand-up comedy, Francophone food tasting, studio tours and sustainable seafood tours. For $35 you can also get tickets to the food truck component, Street Eats & Beats, featuring Vancouver’s top food trucks, local beer/wine and a live dj.
20) Vancouver International Wine Festival, Feb. 25 – March 3
One of North America’s largest wine festivals – this boozey doozy draws vintners wine enthusiasts from all over the world. Marking its 35th year with wines from California, the event will feature more than 175 participating wineries from 15 countries, amounting to 1,700 wines on pour.
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