February 16 is the start of the Chinese New Year in 2018. Given Vancouver’s significant Chinese population, Chinese New Year is a major event in the city.
How to Celebrate Chinese New Year in Vancouver
Below is a list of events that take place around the Lower Mainland to celebrate the Chinese New Year which in 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
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Chinese New Year in Vancouver
- Chinese New Year Parade – takes place in Vancouver’s Chinatown on Sunday, February 18, from 11 am until around 1:30 pm. The parade goes up Pender Street, turns at Gore Street and then returns along Keefer. If the weather is good the Chinese New Year Parade can attract tens of thousands of people, so get there early and consider using public transit. This event is highly recommended – you’ll feel like you’re in Asia and it’s far cheaper than a flight to Beijing! Click Chinese New Year Parade for more information.
- Chinese New Year at International Village – this normally quiet downtown Chinatown mall at 88 West Pender Street gets lively with thousands of people wandering around, shopping, checking out all the Chinese New Year merchandise and enjoying the music and entertainment. It also has a good food court if you’re looking for a cheap and convenient place to eat. Expect it to be busy from around Chinese New Year’s Eve (on February 15, 2018) until the following Sunday.
- The Year of the Dog Temple Fair – a one-day festival celebrating the Chinese New Year at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown at 578 Carrall Street on Sunday, February 18, from 10 am until 4 pm. Activities include live music and dance performances, Chinese food for sale, a lion dance and family-friendly activities. Admission is by donation.
- Lanterns in the Garden – a Chinese lantern festival at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden during the weekend evenings of February 16-17 and 23-25 as well as March 2-4, 2018. Cost is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and children (ages 6-15), and $45 for families (of 2 adults and up to 3 children ages 15 and under). Free for children age under age 6.
- Come Soar Over China – enjoy the flight ride experience “Flight of the Dragon” at FlyOver Canada at Canada Place. (Showing as a double feature along with FlyOver Canada from mid-January until February 18, 2018.)
- Vancouver Lunarfest – free activities suitable for very young children and their families take place in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on February 18, 24 and 25.
- Oakridge Centre – also part of the Vancouver Lunarfest event, Oakridge Centre has a small display of 800 lanterns to celebrate the holiday. The shopping mall also has special Family Day craft activities and entertainment on Monday, February 12th, from noon until 4 pm, and a Chinese New Year Lion Dance on Saturday, February 17th, from 10 am until 12:30 pm.
- Lion Dance at Granville Island – the traditional Lion Dance blessings and procession take place in the Public Market and around Granville Island on Saturday, February 17, starting at 10:30 am and finishing in the early afternoon.
- Lunar New Year at Wesbrook Village – free Chinese New Year celebrations at UBC at 3378 Wesbrook Mall on Saturday, February 17, from 12:30 to 4:00 pm. A Lion Dance blessing procession takes place in the streets around the village from 12:30 until around 2 pm. Then from 2 until 4 pm free activities take place at the Wesbrook Community Centre with live performances starting at 2:30 pm. Over 1000 people attend most years and it’s a pretty good event.
See further below for top Chinese New Year activities in Richmond.
Chinese Restaurants in Vancouver
Vancouver has some great Chinese food restaurants, including the following which are some of the best:
- Bao Bei – at 163 Keefer in Chinatown is one of the better yet very affordable Chinese restaurants in the area and serves excellent food.
- Dynasty Seafood – an upscale award-winning Chinese restaurant famous for its dim sum located at 777 West Broadway. Open for lunch and dinner every day, except for statutory holidays. Free parking – just let their staff know your stall number.
- Kirin – an award-winning upscale Chinese restaurant located at 102-1172 Alberni Street in downtown Vancouver.
Chinese New Year Events in Richmond
With over 40% of its population being ethnic Chinese, Richmond is an obvious place to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Below are some of the best places to do that.
- Dharma Drum Center New Year’s Celebrations – special hands-on activities for children plus lion dance, drumming and other traditional musical performances at 8240 No. 5 Road in Richmond from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm on Saturday, February 18. FREE.
- International Buddhist Temple – the largest Buddhist temple in North America, located at 9160 Steveston Highway, invites the public to a day of celebrations on New Year’s Eve, which in 2018 is on Thursday, February 15th. It’s a late night event, but quite amazing. FREE.
- Lunar New Year at Lansdowne Centre – Chinese New Year celebrations take place at the Lansdowne shopping mall on February 17th from 12:30 until 5:00 pm. Activities include a Lion Dance, cultural performances and a red lucky envelope for all shoppers.
- Year of the Dog Celebrations at Aberdeen Mall – the shopping centre offers a number of special events including the following:
- Chinese New Year Flower & Gift Fair – flowers and gifts to admire and buy on the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of February 9-11 and 16-18, 2018.
- New Year’s Eve Countdown – countdown night to the Year of the Dog takes place on Thursday, February 15, from 8:30 pm until midnight at the mall’s Central Atrium.
- Golden Dragon and Lion Dance – the traditional ceremony goes from store to store offering New Year’s blessings starting at 11 am on Friday, February 16, 2018.
- Chinese New Year Cultural Showcase – performances take place in the mall’s Central Atrium on the weekend of February 17-18 on both the Saturday and Sunday from 1 until 2 pm and then again from 3 until 4 pm.
- Tibetan Lunar New Year Celebration – at the Thrangu Monastery at 140 Number 5 Road in Richmond on Friday, February 16, from 9 am to 12 pm. Free. (Note: the Tibetan New Year doesn’t always fall on the same date as the Chinese New Year, but it does in 2018 and 2019).
Best Chinese Restaurants in Richmond
What better way to celebrate the Chinese New Year than with dinner at one of the Lower Mainland’s top Chinese restaurants. Some of the best in Richmond including the following:
- Dinesty Chinese – a great casual restaurant famous for its dumplings, with locations at 1168-3779 Sexsmith Road and 160-8111 Ackroyd Road.
- Kirin – a great upscale Chinese restaurant at 200 Three West Centre, 7900 Westminster Highway (at No. 3 Road).
Other Chinese New Year Celebrations
Chinese New Year is celebrated at venues throughout the Lower Mainland. In addition to locations in Vancouver and Richmond, here are some other places to check out the festivities:
- Lunar New Year Celebrations – Central City mall in Surrey has early and free Chinese New Year festivities from 11 am to 4 pm on Monday, February 12, 2018. Craft activities for children take place on the Lower Level and there’s a stage with performances on the Upper Level near the Winners store.
- Lonsdale Quay Lunar New Year – craft activities for children run from 11 am until 3 pm on Saturday, February 17, 2018. A traditional Chinese Fan Dance happens at 11 o’clock and the Lion Dance starts at 3:30.
- Tsawwassen Mills Lion Dance – the traditional Lion Dance and blessing of shops takes place at the Tsawwassen Mills mall near the BC Ferries Terminal from 2 until around 4 pm on Saturday, February 17, 2018.