East Chinatown on Gerrard Street East hosts Lion Dance to welcome the Year of the Rat

Jin-En, right, and Qian-En, left, join their mom Hsin-Yi as they make Year of the Rat puppet sticks at the Jones Library on Saturday, Jan. 25 in celebration of Chinese New Year. Photo by Alan Shackleton.

Chinese New Year celebrations welcoming the Year of the Rat will continue this weekend and next in East Toronto.

Chinese New Year was officially welcomed on Saturday, Jan. 25, but celebrations are continuing into February.

Toronto’s East Chinatown will be hosting a Lion Dance on Sunday, Feb. 2 along Gerrard Street East between Broadview Avenue and Howland Road.

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce Lion Dance Parade will take place between noon and 2 p.m, and will see the lion dancers visit local businesses in the area.

Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher earlier told Beach Metro News that the event is always enjoyable and entertaining.

“The lion visits businesses who leave out lettuce and gifts in red envelopes. The lions eat them and spit out the lettuce, which brings good luck and prosperity to the business,” she said.

Fletcher is also organizing a celebration on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Gerrard Square to welcome the Year of the Rat.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on that day, visitors to the shopping centre will be able to take in community information displays, a lion dance and entertainment.

A number of groups will be performing on stage in Gerrard Square from noon to 2 p.m. as part of the celebrations.

Gerrard Square is located at 1000 Gerrard St. E.

“It’s a huge event at Gerrard Square and I’ve been helping to organize it for many years. It is so well attended and enjoyed,” said Fletcher. “We used to do it along with Jack (Layton) and Peter (Tabuns) back at Matty Eckler Community Centre, but it outgrew that space and now takes place at Gerrard Square.”

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