In 2021 Vancouver would normally have celebrated the Lunar New Year with the 48th annual Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown. It’s an impressive event!
2021 isn’t a typical year, however. Because of the pandemic, there was no parade this year. Hopefully it will be able to return in 2022.
The Year of the Ox celebrations began on Friday, February 12th. The parade would ordinarily have taken place on Sunday, February 14th, in 2021.
Were it not for the pandemic, Chinese New Year’s Eve celebrations would also have happened at the International Buddhist Temple in Richmond on February 11th, as well as in a couple of other places.
See below for information about Vancouver’s Chinese New Year Parade, or click Chinese New Year Activities for a list of multiple ways to celebrate the event including the parade!
Chinese New Year’s Parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown
In years when it doesn’t get cancelled, a Vancouver cultural festivity that you don’t want to miss is Chinatown‘s New Year’s parade (unless of course you don’t like crowds).
There is no need to travel abroad to experience China – on this day you’ll find yourself surrounded by about a billion Chinese and other Vancouverites. You’ll also see the occasional colourful lion or dragon, and numerous bands and people in costumes marching down the streets.
In 2020 the parade celebrated the Year of the Rat and the event’s 47th year with about six dozen entries comprising over 3000 participants. Unless it too gets cancelled, at the parade in 2022 you can expect to see marching bands, Chinese lion dancing and entries by numerous community businesses and non-profit groups. Next year it’s the Year of the Tiger!
At Vancouver’s Chinese New Year Parade, sidewalks along the route are packed full of people, the sounds of fire crackers fill the air and Chinatown is without a question the most exciting place in the city to be.
When and Where
Vancouver’s Chinese New Year’s parade usually happens in Chinatown from 11 am until about 1:30 pm. Get there early to find a place you can see the road, somewhere along Pender, Gore or Keefer near the entrance gate to Chinatown. Unless it’s raining and miserable, prepare yourself for the crowds – the throng of people is a cultural experience in itself!
In 2022 the Year of the Tiger begins on Tuesday, February 1st. The parade will likely happen on Sunday, February 6th, although exact details are to be confirmed.
New Year Parade Route
The parade goes down West Pender under the Chinatown Millennium Gate, up Gore Street, and then back up along Keefer. In total the route is about 1.3 kilometres in length and lasts for two or more hours.
Click Parade Map to see the route (or at least what it has been in recent years).
Chinese New Year Parade Video
Below is a short video of the parade in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It was filmed last year and will give you an idea of what to expect on February 10th in 2019.
The video starts and finishes with views from a parkade looking down at the corner of Carrall Street and Keefer. The second scene is of a lion dance going down the parade route along East Pender. The third scene is of parade participants marching west along Keefer Street.
Tips for Parade Viewing
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you maximize your Chinatown Parade experience the next time it takes place.
TIP #1: On Keefer Street by Columbia there is a giant building with a parkade and the words “CHINATOWN” written down the side on a red and yellow neon sign. If you want a good view, and want to be above and away from the crowds, this can be a great place to be. Look up from the street, and you can see people peering down and enjoying the parade from a comfortable and less congested distance.
TIP #2: Either before or after the parade, consider visiting International Village at 88 West Pender. This interesting yet normally fairly quiet shopping mall completely comes alive. Inside, in addition to thousands of people, you’ll find an assortment of performances and stalls selling all kinds of festive items.
TIP #3: While in Chinatown, check out the festivities at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden at 578 Carrall Street. Running from around 10 am to 4 pm in a typical year, the festivities there include dance performances, live music, a lion dance and other family-friendly cultural activities. Admission is usually by donation. Expect the place to be busy!
Click Chinese New Year Events for other celebratory activities in Metro Vancouver.
To learn more about the parade see the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver‘s website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Places for History and Culture
- Free January Events
- Free February Events
- Vancouver Restaurants
- Vancouver’s Chinatown