Politicians mingle with residents in celebrations

Rafe Arnott/metro vancouver


Federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion hands out red pockets for prosperity during the 35th-annual Chinatown New Year Parade yesterday.

«It’s lots of fun. It’s particularly good for the kids to get out and see another side of life.»

Despite the rain, thousands turned out for the Chinatown New Year parade yesterday.

"It’s lots of fun," said Ardis Bryson, who brought her niece and two young children. "It’s particularly good for the kids to get out and see another side of life."

The hours-long parade began at Millennium Gate and wound through Pender, Gore and Keefer streets.

Among those marching were Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, Premier Gordon Campbell, Mayor Sam Sullivan and several city councillors. Bands included the Vancouver Firefighters Band and the Vancouver Police Pipe Band.

"Our daughter’s Chinese, so it’s part of her culture and heritage," said Ray Corcione, who attended with his wife and one-year-old daughter. "We come down every year."

Highlights included the dragon, unicorn and lion dance teams as well as the firecrackers that lined the streets. Councillors also handed out lucky red envelopes to the crowd.

Scott McBride said his son Connor, 3, wanted to see the dragon after falling in love with one during a day-care parade.

"You gotta take advantage of it," he said.