The Chinese Year of the Horse officially begins on January 31, 2014. The horse is an energetic, warm-hearted, intelligent and able creature. Think about its ability to travel long distances and carry heavy loads. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that the year of the horse is considered a good year to travel. Back at home, however, if you’re wondering what to do in Vancouver to welcome the lunar new year, we’ve rounded up a variety of activities. Whether you want to experience some new cultural traditions, or you’re just looking for a party, there’s lots to choose from.
What to do in Vancouver to Celebrate Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year at FlyOver Canada
For an event that runs over several weeks, allowing you to enjoy it at your leisure, check out FlyOver Canada’s Chinese New Year celebrations. If you visit you’ll experience the North American debut of the Chinese ride film ‘Flight of the Dragon’, featured back-to-back with the popular FlyOver Canada experience. It’s a chance to experience two cultures, two countries and two experiences, all in one place. Both offer an immersive look at spectacular landscapes in a virtual flight experience.
When: January 17 – March 2, 2014, 10:00am-9:00pm daily
Where: 201-999 Canada Place (entrance on the upper level at the north end)
Cost: Adults – $19.95, Students / Seniors – $17.95, Kids: $14.95 (children must be at least 40 inches to ride)
More info: www.flyovercanada.com
Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Toddish McWong’s Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a unique answer to the question of what to do in Vancouver to celebrate both the Lunar New Year and famed Scottish poet Robbie Burns. This event, which has become synonymous with cultural fusion and fun, puts Scottish-Canadian and Chinese-Canadian pioneers on an inclusive and equal platform. It also acknowledges historical racism and initiates conversation on how we move beyond it.
When: January 26, 2014 – doors open at 5:00pm, dinner starts at 6:00pm
Where: Floata Chinese Restaurant, #400-180 Keefer Street
Cost: Adults – $65 + service charge, Students – $55 + service charge, Kids: $35 + service charge
More info: www.gunghaggis.com
Year of the Horse at International Village Mall
The Year of the Horse Celebration at International Village brings traditional Chinese Spring festivities and rituals to Vancouver. You’ll find Chinese New Year festive items at the exhibition and sales booths on the main level, plus souvenirs and gifts. There will be multicultural live performances on stage and lucky draws as well. On the upper level of the mall there will be a festive Chinese New Year Heritage Village, where you can see experience the true colours, traditional arts and culture, and culinary delights of the new year. The whole thing kicks off with a ceremonial eye-dotting ritual and lion dance on Thursday, January 30, and culminates with the parade on Sunday, February 2.
When: January 30 – February 2, 2014
Where: International Village Mall, 88 West Pender Street
More info: www.internationalvillagemall.ca/pages/cny2014-home.php
Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival and Parade
The Chinese New Year Parade is the biggest event all year for Chinatown, and an annual Vancouver favourite. It features lion dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts performances and much more. Year after year, the Chinatown parade is a cultural extravaganza not to be missed, and a must-see event if you’re wondering what to do in Vancouver for Chinese New Year.
When: February 2, 2014 at 11:00am
Where: The parade starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street, proceeds east along Pender, turns south onto Gore, turns west onto Keefer and finishes at Keefer and Carrall
More info: www.cbavancouver.ca
Year of the Horse Temple Fair
Based on spring festival temple fairs of old, this Chinese New Year celebration is a “Hot & Noisy” mixture of traditional cultural activities. You’ll find traditional Chinese games and activities, fortune-telling, live music, food, drinks and more. There’s also a children’s corner promising lots of kid-friendly Vancouver fun, including the chance to run around and yell to scare away evil spirits. Remember to wear red if you add this event to your list of what to do in Vancouver!
When: February 2, 2014 from 10:00am-4:00pm
Where: Dr. Sun Yat-sen Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall Street
Cost: By donation (suggested donation $5)
More info: vancouverchinesegarden.com/calendar/the-year-of-the-horse-temple-fair
LunarFestLunarFest offers a contemporary expression of Asian arts and culture, inviting everyone to share in the cultural diversity of our city. There is lots to see and do at this event, from Lantern Palaces, to workshops and games, to story-telling, and more. Enjoy drum performances, check out the two-storey tall rocking horse installation, sip a cup of tea, and enjoy dumplings at dumpling fest. But perhaps the best reason of all to add this event to your list of what to do in Vancouver this winter is that it’s free!
When: February 7-9, 2014 from 11:00am-7:00pm
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
More info: lunarfest.org
No matter which events you add to your list of what to do in Vancouver for the lunar new year, we hope the Year of the Horse brings you health and prosperity!
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.