Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade – January 29, 2012

Of all the Vancouver Chinese New Year events celebrating the Year of the Dragon, there’s one that stands out from the rest: the annual Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade, one of the largest annual parades in the city.

Over 3,000 people take part in the Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade (as in: are actually part of the parade itself)! Featuring the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada, the parade also boasts multicultural dance troupes, the Vancouver Police Department Motorcycle Drill Team, marching bands, and more. Every year, the parade draws over 50,000 spectators—it’s loads of free fun for all ages!

The Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade runs from 12pm – 2pm on Sunday, January 29, 2012. Like last year, the 1.2km parade route winds through Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, starting at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street (between Shanghai Alley and Taylor Street), proceeding east along Pender Street, turning south onto Gore Street, then west onto Keefer Street before ending at Keefer and Columbia.

Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade Route Map – larger map image here

After the parade, free festivities continue at the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival & Cultural Fair at Sun Yat-sen Plaza (50 East Pender Street) until 5pm. The Fair includes multicultural performances, martial arts demos, and a special lion dance grand finale. (Although the Fair runs until 5pm, performances end at 4pm.)

You can also grab dinner later at the annual Chinese New Year Banquet at Floata Restaurant, where the $35 tickets buy dinner and live performances of lion dances, a Chinese variety show, and ‘good luck’ greetings by the fortune god.

The parade, Chinatown Spring Festival & Cultural Fair and the New Year’s Banquet are all organized by the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver.

Remember: With so many spectators expected along the parade route, driving—and parking—will be very difficult. Take the Skytrain to the Chinatown/Stadium Station or use Translink to plan your public transit route.

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