Lunar New Year events return to Metro Vancouver
Many in-person events resumed after a pandemic hiatus, with the prime minister and premier in Vancouver
A series of dignitaries, including B.C. Premier David Eby and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, were present in Vancouver's Chinatown as multiple events in Metro Vancouver celebrated the Lunar New Year.
Sunday marked the first day of the year in many Asian cultures, according to the lunisolar calendar.
And this year it's the Year of the Rabbit — one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac, with it being the Year of the Cat in Vietnamese culture.
In Vancouver, the Chinatown Spring Festival Parade returned for the first time since 2020. It's considered the largest such parade in Canada.
Hundreds of people lined the streets to look at traditional lion and dragon dances, cultural dance troupes, marching bands, martial arts performances and more.
The parade is one of many in-person public events returning to Vancouver and other parts of B.C.
It saw the attendance of Trudeau, Eby, Conservative Leader Pierre Polievre, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, among numerous others.
Still, news of a shooting at a Lunar New Year event in California gave pause to people at the event, including the prime minister.
"We will be there for whatever support Canada can offer," Trudeau told reporters before the parade began Saturday.
Despite the tragic events south of the Canada-U.S. border, thousands of Canadians still took to the streets to formally usher in what the Chinese zodiac system hails as the Year of the Rabbit.
"It's a reminder of why we need to gather like this to fight hate, fight racism, get together and celebrate our cultural diversity here in B.C.," Premier Eby told CBC News.
Frank Huang, one of the coordinators of the parade, said he hoped the Year of the Rabbit would bring prosperity to Chinatown.
Other events mark the occasion
Around Metro Vancouver, festival mainstays like the Aberdeen Centre's countdown and flower fair also returned.
B.C. Liberal Party Leader Kevin Falcon was at the mall Saturday for the countdown, which also returned in-person this year.
Other events were also held to mark the occasion, such as a Year of the Rabbit celebration at Chinatown's International Village mall, as well an art exhibition at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden.
With files from Winston Szeto, The Canadian Press and Susana da Silva