Miss and Mr. World Canada will be there. So will environmentalist David Suzuki, the consul generals for China, the U.S. and South Korea, Premier Christy Clark, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Coquitlam mayor Richard Stewart.
They’ll all be at the 40th Chinese New Year Parade in Vancouver, Sunday, Feb. 17, that co-organizer Jun Ing, vice president of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, says will be more multicultural than ever. “This is an event that all Vancouverites and people within the Lower Mainland are coming to and celebrating and that’s why we want to make it a little more relevant to the people who are coming,” he said.
Organizers have been working for more than 10 years to boost the inclusiveness of the parade. “That’s our Canadian value,” Ing said.
Depending on the weather, the parade is expected to draw more than 50,000 spectators to see more than 3,000 participants from various community and cultural groups march and dance through the streets of Chinatown to celebrate the year of the snake, which begins Sunday, Feb. 10. Ing added visitors will see eatART’s 50-foot-long electromechanical Titanoboa snake at the event.
Ing says Chinatown’s New Year’s parade is one of the three largest non-commercial parades in Vancouver, with the Pride parade and Vaisakhi as the two others.
He notes it’s not only people of Chinese heritage who celebrate the lunar New Year, but also people from other Asian countries. He’s pleased that a Japanese cultural group will don kimonos and join the parade for the first time. “We actually found them at the Canada Day Parade,” Ing said. “Our organizers have done a lot of work recruiting.”
The parade starts at 11 a.m. and is expected to last two-and-a-half hours. Afterward, lion dancers will visit Chinatown shops to bop and eat the lettuce that hangs above their entrances — Ing says lettuce is a homonym for money — to promote luck and prosperity.
The plaza of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden at 50 East Pender St. will be animated for the Vancouver Chinatown Spring Festival Cultural Fair on both Saturday and Sunday. The city provided money for the inaugural cultural fair in 2010 when the Olympics curtailed the Chinese New Year Parade. The fair was such a success it has expanded, with multicultural performances, martial arts demonstrations and a special lion dance grand finale. The cultural fair runs from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.