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Extra Vancouver police officers to attend Lunar New Year parade, celebrations

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Chinatown Lunar New Year parade prepares for 50th anniversary'
Vancouver Chinatown Lunar New Year parade prepares for 50th anniversary
Ahead of Lunar New Year, the Vancouver Chinatown BIA is unveiling its "Neon Dragon" logo for the Year of the Dragon, and its plans for the 50th anniversary of its popular parade. Kristen Robinson reports – Jan 24, 2024

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the 2024 Lunar New Year Parade in Vancouver on Sunday.

Vancouver police said it will be deploying extra officers for the celebration and is warning everyone who is planning on attending to prepare for large crowds.

The parade starts and finishes near the Chinese Cultural Centre and travels through Chinatown.

“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,” Superintendent Andrew Chan said.

The extra officers will be on hand to assist in re-directing vehicle traffic, help manage the large crowds, and respond to any public safety concerns.

“While there’s no specific public safety risk, whenever there is an event this size, and with so many people, there’s always an increased need for police services,” Chan said. “Our priority is to foster a safe environment where people can enjoy the parade and to respond immediately if someone needs our help.”

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Vancouver police said officers will be keeping a sharp eye out for public safety concerns and crime.

Just last year, three people attending the Light Up Chinatown festival in September were stabbed. Vancouver Police previously said the attacks were done by a stranger who was not known by the victims. Blair Evan Donnelly was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault concerning the stabbings. He remains in custody.

Click to play video: 'Chinatown celebrates the ‘Year of the Dragon’'
Chinatown celebrates the ‘Year of the Dragon’

Police are encouraging community members to plan ahead, anticipate significant traffic disruptions, and make a plan if attending with small children, especially with a meeting point in case of separation.

To accommodate the parade, road closures will be in effect on Sunday 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 parade begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

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According to Global News archival footage, the first Lunar New Year Parade wound through Chinatown on Jan. 26, 1974.

“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 Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim.

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

Five decades later, the city and the Vancouver Chinatown BIA are preparing to usher in the Year of the Dragon with new neon street banners.

The LED banners feature a five-clawed dragon in magenta, blue, yellow and white neon and were installed overnight in the unit and 100 blocks of East Pender Street.

The locally designed neon street signs are more than two years in the making and were stalled by the pandemic, according to Fred Kwok, who helped create them.

Click to play video: 'Lunar New Year shopping in Vancouver’s Chinatown'
Lunar New Year shopping in Vancouver’s Chinatown

— with files from Kristen Robinson

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