The 40th annual Chinese New Year Parade – the ultimate Chinese New Year event – takes place this Sunday, February 17 in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. While we generally advocate lazy brunching in Kits on the weekends, this free family-friendly event is one of the best on the Vancouver agenda. So hop on public transportation and head on over.
Chinese New Year (a.k.a. Lunar New Year or Spring Festival which launched on Feb. 10) is one of the most significant traditional Chinese holidays and it gets a heck of a party going in the third largest Chinatown in all of North America.
Over 3,000 people participate in the parade in honour of the Year of the Snake, creating a 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.
The parade route is longer this year to accommodate all the new participants. It’s also 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.
Parade Schedule and Route
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. Find a map here.
With 50,000 spectators expected along the parade route, driving will be tricky at best. Take the Skytrain to the Chinatown/Stadium Station or use Translink to plan your public transit route.