January 25th is the start of the Chinese New Year in 2020. 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 took place around the Lower Mainland to celebrate the Chinese New Year which in 2019 was the Year of the Pig. 2020 details for the Year of the Rat will be similar.
Information about Chinese New Year events in the Lower Mainland includes the following topics:
Click on one of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading for all information.
Chinese New Year in Vancouver
- Soar Over Taiwan – enjoy the all-new flight ride experience featuring Tawian at FlyOver Canada at Canada Place. It shows from January 16th until February 16th in 2020.
- Lunar New Year at the River District – River District Vancouver celebrated Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig with lion dancing and a few other activities on the Saturday of February 2nd in 2019. In 2020 it celebrates the Year of the Rat on Saturday, January 25th. The 2020 event runs from 11 am until 3 pm (with a short break in the middle) at two different (yet close-by) locations.
- Chinese New Year Parade – took place in Vancouver’s Chinatown on Sunday, February 10, from 11 am until around 1:30 pm. In 2020 it takes place on Sunday, January 26. 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 fairly 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 during the weekend of the Chinese New Year Parade.
- Chinatown Plaza – it’s a small Asian-themed shopping mall tucked away at 106 Keefer Street in Chinatown. On the afternoon of the Chinese New Year Parade it hosts live entertainment and lion dancing.
- The Year of the Rat 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 the Sunday after Chinese New Year from about 10:00 am until 4:30 pm. Activities include live music and dance performances, Chinese food for sale, a lion dance and family-friendly activities. Admission is by donation.
- Vancouver Lunarfest – activities suitable for young children and their families happen in the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s not a huge event, but it’s under shelter and free. Lunar New Year celebrations also take place at Oakridge Centre (January 25 and 26, 2020).
- Lunar New Year at Wesbrook Village – free Chinese New Year celebrations at UBC at 3378 Wesbrook Mall include a Lion Dance blessing procession in the streets around the village and free activities at the Wesbrook Community Centre. Over 1000 people attend most years and it’s a pretty good event. In 2020 it runs on Saturday, January 25th, from 2:00 until 4:00 pm at the Wesbrook Community Centre at 3335 Webber Lane.
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 – crafts and games for children as well as tea and meditation for adults at 8240 No. 5 Road in Richmond. It’s a small and fairly simple event on the afternoon of Chinese New Year’s Day, but 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 2020 is on Friday, January 24th. 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 the weekend after Chinese New Year. Activities include a Lion Dance and cultural performances. In 2019 the event took place on Saturday, February 9th, from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm (with the opening ceremony happening at noon).
- Year of the Rat Celebrations at Aberdeen Mall – the shopping centre offered a number of special events between January 18 and January 26, 2020, including the following:
- Chinese New Year Flower & Gift Fair – flowers and gifts to admire and buy from January 18th until January 26th.
- New Year’s Eve Countdown – countdown night to the Year of the Pig takes place on Friday, January 24, 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 on Saturday, January 26th.
- Chinese New Year Cultural Showcase – performances take place in the mall’s Central Atrium on the weekend of January 25-26 on both the Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
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 most years. 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. In 2019 the celebrations ran from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 2nd (so a few days before Chinese New Year’s Day).
- Lonsdale Quay Lunar New Year – craft activities for children and a traditional Chinese Fan Dance usually happen one day at the public market in North Vancouver. For 2020, it is between 2:30 and 4:30 pm on February 1st (so a week after actual Chinese New Year’s Day).