Chinese Lunar New Year 2006 in Vancouver Chinatown
The Chinese New Year parade in Vancouve's Chinatown is now Vancouver's longest continually run parade, since the demise of the PNE parade. Lots of action abounds as the many martial arts clubs all let loose their Lions to the streets. Along the parade route, some of the Lions will approach different stores and restaurants hanging lettuce as an offering to the Lions. After the parade, hang out on Pender and Keefer Streets afterwards as the Lions will roam the streets and even venture along Main St in search of lettuce and li-see (lucky red envelopes with money). If you are lucky, you may see people lean out the 2nd or 3rd floor balconies with a lettuce hanging from a stick. The lion may even try to climb up the building to get the lettuce to the loud applause of the crowd.
This year's parade featured the return of the Salvation Army Band, bangra dancing, the Carnival Band, and Brazillian dancers – but sadly no dragon boat.
I have never ever been a participant in the Chinese New Year Chinatown parade before, but this year I had 2 offers to join friends in Chinatown Revitalization Committee (Chair Glen Wong is an old childhood friend of mine), and the Dances With Dragons group (First Nations and Chinese supporters organized by Bill Chu). I chose instead to just watch and enjoy the parade with my girlfriend. It was amazing how many people we bumped into that we knew.
Todd Wong with friends City Councillor Suzanne Anton and dragon boater Patrick Couling – photo Deb Martin
First of all I bumped into Glen Wong with his young son – both dressed up in Chinese jackets. Next was Patrick Couling, one of my early dragon boat mentors, then City Councillor Suzanne Anton – who had attended the previous week's Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner.
“Eve & the Fire Horse” group promote the film, as actor Phoebe Kut hands out fortune cookies – photo Todd Wong
We walked past and through the parade assembly area and I greeted friends with their different groups. I bumped into my 2nd cousin Nick with his two young sons and their martial arts club, as the club got ready to drum and do Lion Dances. I met up with Wing Siu Wong, and young son Andy who came and greeted me saying “Toddish McWong!” They were with the group for “Eve and the Fire Horse.” Producers Yves Ma and Erik Paulsson were there with the group holding up a big banner sign. Young actor Phoebe Kut was there too! After the parade I had a great chat with Yves and learned that we had other friends in common when his young daughter asked me “Are you Jessica's friend?”
I am with the parade crew from “Eve and the Fire Horse”: actor Phoebe
Kut is delightful – she is on my right. producer Yves Ma is on my left
with his daughter – who remembered meeting me the week before at the
Firehall Arts Centre. What a small world! – photo Deb Martin.