Shoppers from both floors of Scarborough Town Centre watched the lion dance.

Scarborough welcomes Year of the Snake

Lions, councillors, and the sound of thunder drums formed a celebratory combination at Scarborough Town Centre on Saturday, Feb. 9.

Scarborough Town Centre hosted the 2013 Chinese New Year celebration to welcome the Year of the Snake. The free event started at noon, and the thunder drums opening ceremony and colourful lion dance costumes attracted shoppers.

Jai Lee, the marketing director of Scarborough Town Centre, said the annual event is an entertaining way for GTA residents to learn about Chinese culture.

“The combination of traditional Chinese ceremonies, colourful costumes and vibrant performances makes it a well-loved cultural and social event,” Lee said. “This authentic celebration brings the Canadian-Chinese community together and is a beautiful way to not only carry on these traditions, but also educate the younger generations.”

Hosted in both English and Chinese, the event included traditional ceremonies and dance performances. Scarborough councillors and community leaders, called “VIPs” during the event, participated in the celebration. Some of the members were Ward 38 Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker, Ward 42 Coun. Raymond Cho and Peter Sloly, a deputy chief with Toronto police. They woke up the lions in the “eye-dotting” ceremony and fed the lions in the “Choy Ching” ceremony.

Jennifer Martin, a downtown Toronto resident, said she was impressed with the lion dance.

“I’ve never actually been to a big event like this one where it’s a full ceremony,” Martin said. “It was pretty amazing.”

For Amelia Zheng, a Scarborough resident from China, this was her first Chinese New Year in Toronto.

“[The event] is quite traditional, but it’s not really like the tradition from my part,” Zheng said. “I’m from South China, but it’s more Cantonese and Hong Kongese. It was good to see that we have a lot of things in common.”

Scarborough Town Centre provided shoppers with a glimpse of the event by hanging a large snake made of balloons in the centre’s court. Next year’s zodiac creature is the horse.