This weekend on the local Chinese calendar is the biggest of the year! It’s Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dog. There are parades, festivities and events all over Vancouver from the streets of East Van and the West Side community of Wesbrook Village to downtown Vancouver. And let’s not the forget the malls. Oakridge and Pacific Centre are decked to the nines with red lanterns, and Oakridge and has been hosting craft workshops all month.
Here are just a few of the family-friendly festivities happening in Vancouver this (and next) weekend.
Lunar New Year: Events, parades and festivities
International Village in Chinatown
This Chinatown mall will be filled with traditional Chinese spring festivities and rituals over 3 days (Feb 16-18), with exhibition and sales booths on both levels showcasing Chinese New Year items, souvenirs, culinary delights and gift wares, live stage performances and lucky draws. There will be a ceremonial opening and lion dance, attended by officials from three levels government, consulates, and local celebrities. The event caps on the last day with the renowned Chinatown New Year’s Parade.
The Chinatown New Year’s Parade
If you’re looking for a big, historic event, head downtown on Sunday to The Chinatown New Year’s Parade (Feb 18) featuring over 4,000 performers and drawing almost 100,000 spectators along the route. It will be a ton of fun with lots of colour, music and food, but bear in mind that it’s also loud and crowded so make sure you little ones are up for it!
Lanterns in the Garden
Visit the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for a unique (and likely quieter) winter experience with lanterns, delicacies, music, performances, and dazzling lights. This year features lanterns shaped in myth stories, a food yard, costume photoshoot, stage performances and more.
Granville Island Lion Dance
Celebrate the Lunar New Year on Saturday (Feb 17) with a traditional Lion Dance parade starting at 10:30 am in the Public Market. Follow the lion dancers as they travel to the Net Loft, Creekhouse and Railspur Alley. Take in sugar painting showcase from 11 am to 2 pm, where the artist uses a traditional Chinese form of folk art using hot, liquid sugar to create two or three dimensional figures.
Head up to Wesbrook Village on Saturday and help ward off any evil spirits at the annual Lion Dance. Follow that up with some festive craft-making at the community centre.
Flight of the Dragon at FlyOver Canada
During this family-friendly feature, a mythical dragon soars over some of China’s most spectacular landscapes and scenery – including the Great Wall of China, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the city of Shanghai and more. Then, take off again to experience FlyOver Canada, an exhilarating journey from east-to-west across Canada.
LunarFest at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza
This free two-day festival (Feb 24/25) is steeped in lunar traditions, featuring culinary delicacies, crafts, traditional lunar performances, art installations and more. Be sure to visit the Children’s Festival booth and make a pair of New Year’s doggie ears.
PS: Don’t forget treats
Any excuse for a treat. Amirite? All the bakeries and chocolatiers are on board for the Year of the Dog is seems with gorgeous cookies, chocolates and moon cakes. Check out these lovelies from Purdy’s chocolates.