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Return of Lunar New Year parade brings 'hope,' celebration to Vancouver's Chinatown


A beloved annual event returned to the streets of Vancouver's Chinatown Sunday, with locals and visiting politicians alike welcoming the year of the rabbit.

After two years of COVID-19-related cancellations, the 48th annual Chinatown Spring Festival Parade drew a crowd of thousands who enjoyed the Lion Dance and other displays of Chinese culture.

The event in one of the country’s oldest and largest Chinatown’s drew politicians such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier David Eby, and Mayor Ken Sim — the city’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor whose vowed to “uplift” the area.

"It's great to see people come back not only just to celebrate and embrace cultural events in Vancouver but the revitalization of Chinatown – and this is the start of it," Sim told CTV News.

Neighbourhood business owner Keller Ng told CTV News she’s been eagerly anticipating the return of the event, which brings a much-needed boost in foot traffic and shoppers to the neighbourhood.

The last few years, she said, have been challenging due to the pandemic. Business owners have increasingly raised concerns over vandalism and safety in the area.

“It does affect everybody so this year finally, the parade is coming back. Hopefully everything is getting better and better,” Ng, who owns Bamboo Village on East Pender Street, said.

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2023 marks the year of the rabbit while Vietnamese Canadians celebrate the year of the cat.

For some attendees, like Checkers Marshall, who recently moved to Vancouver from Oregon, it was the first time taking in the parade.

“We lived in a smaller town, so there wasn’t a big parade or an event. It’s really cool to live in a big city that’s multi-cultural,” she said.

For others like Nicole Mah, whose father was part of the event, returning to the parade allows her to revisit a beloved, annual tradition.

“As a child, we would come here very early and pick a spot by the road and wait patiently for the festivities to start. Then afterwards we’d go for dim sum at one of the restaurants here,” she said.

Ng says she’s setting good intentions for the New Year and that the return of the parade is part of that.

“I say it like this because when the New Year starts, I think everybody should have hope. New hope for the coming year,” she said. Top Stories

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