As Vancouver residents prepare for the arrival of the Year of the Dog on Friday (February 16), they can look forward to three more weeks—rather than one weekend—of festivities across the region.
That’s because this year, Tourism Vancouver and Tourism Richmond have worked together to showcase a list of Lunar New Year events that have deliberately been spaced out, beginning at the start of the month.
For instance, the LunarFest celebration on the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza will take place next Saturday and Sunday (February 24 and 25). Unlike in previous years, it won’t occur on the same weekend as the huge Chinatown Spring Festival Parade.
“It’s all coordinated,” Asian-Canadian Special Events Association managing director Charlie Wu told the Georgia Straight in an interview. “I think it will actually help Vancouver gain some tourism.”
LunarFest, which is organized by Wu’s team, is also hosting events on other days and at other locations, such as The Butterfly Lovers, which is a Joshua Beamish–choreographed dance performance of one of China’s four great folk tales. And on the Vancouver Art Gallery plaza on Sunday (February 18), LunarFest will host a celebration for dogs and dog lovers.
“It’s actually a market for those who want to play with dogs,” Wu said. “We’ve also invited people with therapy dogs.”
Here’s a list of some Lunar New Year events taking place in Vancouver and Richmond:
Chinese Flower Bazaar
(Buddhist Temple, 9180 Steveston Highway, Richmond)
A traditional flower market with snacks and New Year memorabilia continues until Friday (February 16) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Soar Over China
(FlyOver Canada, 201–999 Canada Place)
The Flight of the Dragon returns with a Lunar New Year–themed show that includes a six-minute simulated flight over China as well as an eight-minute coast-to-coast ride over Canada. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Sunday (February 18).
LunarFest at Oakridge Centre
(Oakridge Centre, 650 West 41st Avenue)
Hundreds of sky lanterns are hanging from the arches and there’s a display of 10 golden dogs in the East Galleria until next Sunday (February 25) during regular mall hours.
$1,000,000 Year of the Dog Giveaway
(Parq Vancouver, 39 Smithe Street)
Through February 28, Vancouver’s new casino offers opportunities to win $1 million by choosing four lucky lanterns among those that are on display. Lion dancers will be on the premises on Friday (February 16).
Countdown Night to Year of the Dog
(Aberdeen Centre, 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond)
On Thursday (February 15), there will be two live stage shows, performances by Miss Chinese Vancouver pageant winners, and a countdown right before midnight.
Sherman Tai Charity Fortune Reading at River Rock Casino
(River Rock Casino, 8811 River Road, Richmond)
Feng shui master Sherman Tai will be telling people’s fortunes to raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital this Thursday and Friday, as well as next Friday (February 23) and Sunday. Lion dancers will also be at River Rock this Friday.
The Butterfly Lovers
(Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street)
Choreographed by Josh Beamish, this is a love story for the ages performed on Friday (February 16) by Vancouver’s Coastal City Ballet.
Lanterns in the Garden
(Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, 578 Carrall Street)
An authentic lantern festival, Chinese sugar paintings, and live performances will do down well with plenty of treats and beverages at the food market on Friday and Saturday (February 16 and 17).
Canucks celebrate Lunar New Year
(Rogers Arena, 800 Griffiths Way)
When the Canucks lace up their skates against the Boston Bruins on Saturday (February 17), the home team's warm-up jerseys will feature red Year of the Dog decorations on the shoulder. That's not all. Expect to see lion and dragon dancers, Asian food, and kung fu demonstrations, as well as a tribute to the first NHL player of Asian descent, Larry "King" Kwong.
LunarFest: A Celebration for Dogs! (…and Dog Lovers!)
(Vancouver Art Gallery plaza)
From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (February 18), the pooches will be out in force, along with a giant inflatable “Space Husky” dog.
Chinatown Spring Festival Parade
The annual parade through Chinatown begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday (February 18).
(Vancouver Art Gallery plaza)
Taking place on February 24 and 25, LunarFest features a banquet of Asian dishes, crafts, beauty secrets, an exhibit called Who’s Leashed, and a supersized ball pit for kids of all ages. The celebration includes presentations from the local Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese, Philippine, Mongolian, Indonesian, and Slovak communities.