A performer dressed up as "Money God" distributes "red pockets" during the 45th Chinese New Year Parade in Vancouver, Canada, on Feb. 18, 2018. Thousands of participants paraded along the streets in Vancouver's Chinatown Sunday to celebrate the Year of the Dog, attracting over 5000,000 spectators. (Xinhua/Liang Sen)
VANCOUVER, Feb.18 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Vancouver residents lined the streets of the city's historic Chinatown to welcome the Year of the Dog at the annual Chinese Lunar New Year Parade.
The procession kicked-off near the entrance of Chinatown on Pender Street with a burst of fire crackers.
Organizers were expecting about 5000,000 spectators, who lined the sidewalks as marchers handed out lucky red envelopes stuffed with candy for the kids, many bundled up in near freezing temperatures.
One young family came into the city on the train from the suburbs for the event. Natasha Patricelli, her husband and two kids, stood watching the parade from the sidewalk. A few lucky envelopes were stuffed into the front of the baby harness that held her infant, Kayla.
Patricelli said it was important for them to bring their youngsters to see the celebration of multiculturalism and diversity in their community.
"Just seeing all the people out, coming out from the community and everything is just really nice, and bag pipes and lions and the police (in the parade). It's beautiful so far," she told Xinhua.
"I think it's a good celebration and I think that it is something that we need to share with the kids," she said.
Near the front of the parade marched British Columbia Premier John Horgan, who wore a black Chinese jacket adorned with dragons, and a red scarf.
Horgan walked with other dignitaries including Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson and other politicians.
The event is an important part of Vancouver's calendar as about 500,000 people with Chinese heritage live in the Metro Vancouver area.
Chinatown has been the heart of that community for well over a hundred years. Anna Linares said she grew up in the neighborhood but had never attended a Lunar New Year parade.
"It was my first time so I am kind of excited," she said, as a stream of lion dancers passed, followed by several of the local Chinese benevolent associations, waving their banners.
"I realized that wow, I haven't been to a Chinese New Year parade and it's such a big part of the history of this city with Chinese-Canadians living here for over a hundred years," Linares said. "I thought it would be cool to spend a morning here."
Linares said she loves the inter-generational and multicultural atmosphere of the parade and the community.
"It really just represents what our city is about, which is what I love about living in Vancouver," she said.