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Vancouver Lunar New Year: Massive parade to draw thousands to Chinatown

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon in Vancouver with a vibrant cultural display.
Traditional Chinese Lion Dancers will perform in Chinatown for the 2024 Vancouver Lunar New Year Parade.

The Lunar New Year parade takes place in Vancouver this weekend, ushering in the Year of the Dragon with a vibrant display in historic Chinatown. 

Now in its 50th year, the annual tradition brings thousands of people together to ring in the new year with a colourful parade that winds its way through several blocks of Chinatown. It will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. 

The parade is organized by a consortium of six organizations -- the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association, the Chinese Freemasons Vancouver Branch, the Shon Yee Benevolent Association of Canada and social service agency SUCCESS.

The 1.3 km route starts at the Millennium Gate on Pender Street (between Shanghai Alley and Taylor Street), proceeds east along Pender Street, turns south onto Gore Street, turns west onto Keefer Street and then ends on Keefer at Abbott.

Parts of the neighbourhood will be closed to traffic, providing an opportunity for locals to explore the area and visit the newly refurbished Millennium Gate and neon dragon signs. 

As part of the community's Lunar New Year festivities, Taste of Chinatown returns from Feb. 9 to 11, with exciting food pop-ups and other tastebud-tempting activations in the lively neighbourhood.

“Lunar New Year holds significant importance for many Vancouver residents and brings an undeniable sense of pride to our community. This celebration isn’t just about honouring cherished traditions; it’s about bringing people together and enriching our shared cultural heritage,” said Mayor Ken Sim in a City of Vancouver news release.

“I invite everyone to explore Chinatown this weekend, actively engage in the festivities, and support our local businesses.”

What to know before you attend the Lunar New Year parade 

To ensure the parade runs smoothly, the city encourages attendees to: 

  • Walk, bike, roll, or take transit whenever possible. 
  • Stay ahead of road closures. 
  • Don’t let waste become litter: put waste in its place in the nearest garbage, recycling or organics bin. Additional temporary waste bins will be added for the events. 
  • Be considerate of the neighbourhood and keep noise to a minimum when leaving. 

Before you leave for the event, plan your route (it may be impacted) and expect delays:

  • Follow all detours and abide by no parking signs in the area. 
  • Learn more about road closures across the city. 
  • Follow #VanTraffic or use the city's traffic cameras to check traffic conditions along your commute. 
  • Visit for changes or disruptions to your bus service.
  • Anticipate limited parking. Consider taking the SkyTrain to Main Street-Science World or Stadium Station, then walk to the parade route.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) will deploy additional officers to the neighbourhood to maintain safety but advise attendees to "expect large crowds."

“We’re excited to be part of the 50th anniversary of the Lunar New Year parade, and we’ll have a significant police presence throughout Chinatown to ensure this is a safe, fun, and family-friendly event,” said Superintendent Andrew Chan, who is overseeing VPD’s deployment for Lunar New Year.

While there aren't any immediate safety concerns, people attending with small children should establish a meeting point in case they get separated. You can write your name and phone number on a piece of paper put it in your child’s pocket, and encourage them to approach a police officer if they need help.

Road closures this weekend

To accommodate the parade, road closures will be in effect between 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on sections of the following streets: 

  • Main Street 
  • Pender Street (East and West) 
  • Beatty Street 
  • Abbott Street 
  • Taylor Street 
  • Shanghai Alley 
  • Columbia Street 
  • Quebec Street 
  • Carrall Street 
  • Keefer Street and Keefer Place 
  • East Georgia Street 
  • Gore Avenue 
  • Alleys in the parade area will be closed, including access to private parkades. Residents of Taylor Street and Shanghai Alley will have vehicular access to Keefer Place, westbound only. 

The First Half marathon presented by Blue Shore Financial will also take place on Sunday, commencing at 8:30 am. Drake Street will be closed from Pacific Boulevard to Marinaside Crescent from  9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 until 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 11. 

For more information on the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade, visit the event organizers website.

With files from Lindsay William-Ross and the Canadian Press.