All set to welcome Lunar New Year

February 18, 2015

Lunar New Year is upon us again. And, as such, the city will once again be filled with red banners, lion dances, parades and massive crowds at community enclaves like Chinatown and Richmond.

That much is to be expected; it happens every year. It is the time of year when mainstream dignitaries will appear at their fair share of community gatherings, festivals and ceremonies.

Likewise, mainstream attention will be swung to the Chinese community. Restaurants will overfill. Asian-themed malls and shopping centres will welcome people of all ages and ethnicities. Many will try their best to pronounce “Gung Hay Fat Choy” — the ubiquitous Cantonese greeting — with mixed levels of success.

There is no doubt that the city’s boom in Chinese-Canadian population over the last two-and-a-half decades contributed mightily to this attention. Chinese culture — once seemed so distant and exotic — is now almost unavoidable in everyday life. Many new condominium buildings no longer include any “4”s on its floor plans (the number is unlucky in Chinese). Bank ATMs now prominently feature English, French and Chinese options. There are many subtle ways that Vancouver has taken on part of this culture and made it its own.

But while the local Chinese community grows, it is also evolving. And nowhere is this clearer than the focal geographical neighbourhood where local Chinese-Canadians congregate: Chinatown. It has been the historical heart and soul of Vancouver’s Chinese community for a century, and it is undergoing a massive overhaul in light of recent growths and challenges.

It is also an excellent example of the complexity of this community — which, while undoubtedly having its impact on the Metro Vancouver landscape, is so difficult to accurately define.

By Chuck Chiang, Vancouver Sun | Link to Article