Small, virtual celebrations planned in Calgary for the Year of the Ox


Though most events have been scaled down and moved online, Calgary’s Chinese community is still celebrating the Lunar New Year, transitioning from the Year of the Rat to the Year of the Ox.

A favourite for many Calgarians, the Chinatown Ice Sculpture Showcase will return on Saturday with five ox sculptures installed throughout the community: at the entrance of Dragon City Mall, in front of the Silver Dragon Restaurant, near the HSBC on 3rd Avenue, and in front of the Great Taste Chinese Restaurant as well as the Golden Inn Restaurant.

The Chinatown BIA said a Valentine’s Day photo campaign will also be hosted at the cow in front of Big Taste, where the public is encouraged to take photos and upload them to Instagram for a chance to win one of 10 gift certificates for dinner for two.

With in-restaurant dining once again allowed, the Chinatown BIA is recommending anyone interested in enjoying traditional Chinese cuisine at the city’s Chinese restaurants to make reservations to ensure space.

Throughout February, the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre is hosting several activities and performances, as well as food, calligraphy and music contests.

Tony Wong, president of the Calgary Chinese Cultural Centre, said though the community cannot celebrate in person this year, the centre is hoping the programming will still bring people together.

“These (contests) are ways that we use to encourage people to share, to bring us closer together,” he said. “I just want to wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year and to say just hang in there, I’m sure COVID-19 will be over and our lives will be back to normal soon.”

Multiple performances, including a Peking Opera act, musical performances and a drawing demonstration, will be available to stream on Feb. 15, and the Chinese Dragon Dance Show, Dragonmasters: A Cultural Odyssey, will be available to stream online until Feb. 26.

There will also be a joint celebration with Chinese cultural centres in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax in the form of a 90-minute television program aired on Fairchild TV, free without a subscription, on Feb. 21 at 9 p.m., which Wong said will be a chance to “learn about each others’ Chinese communities in all these five centres.”

The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Calgary is hoping to inspire Calgarians to try some thousand-year-old dishes as part of their online spring festival eve dinner. 

“Though COVID-19 makes the gathering impossible, it can’t hold us back from reaching out to our loved ones with a bit of creativity,” Lu Xu, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, said in a statement.