Toronto’s East Chinatown to welcome Year of the Ox with virtual celebrations

February 3, 2021 By Jayson Dimaano, Beach Metro News

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many major events were cancelled last year, and that is also the trend so far for 2021.

Last year at this time the East Toronto community was preparing for Lunar New Year celebrations.

However, many of the large gathering had to be cancelled at the last moment as the virus began to spread in Canada and the dangers of COVID-19 became apparent..

For this year, the East Toronto celebrations of Lunar New Year (which will welcome the Year of the Ox on Feb. 12) will be going virtual due to the pandemic.

Valerie Mah, vice-president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of East Toronto, told Beach Metro News that the Ralph Thornton Community Centre will be hosting a virtual event on Feb. 10 and she will be doing prediction horoscopes for the Year of the Ox, which last came around in 2009.

For more information on the virtual celebration to be hosted by the Ralph Thornton Centre from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, please go to

Mah said this year families will be celebrating safely within their own households, and there will be no large gatherings.

In 2020, Toronto’s East Chinatown (in the Gerrard Street East and Broadview Avenue area) was able to hold a Lion Dance in the area prior to COVID-19 safety measures being instituted.

There will not be a Lion Dance in the area this year, said Mah.

“We had two lions and the God of Good Fortune came with us,” said Mah of last year’s Lion Dance in East Chinatown. “You go door-to-door to the different establishments and wish them good luck,”

Local politicians took part and helped to greet the lions and distribute red envelopes for good luck.

This year, in compliance with safety rules, Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher and Toronto-Danforth MPP Peter Tabuns are distributing cards to the community.

The cards read in part: “While the Lunar New Year is normally a time to celebrate with family and friends, we know this year will be very different. We wish we could celebrate with you in-person, but with the ongoing pandemic, let’s make our celebrations large in gratitude, but small in size.”

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