Photo: David Suzuki Foundation brings horse power to Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade

The David Suzuki Foundation team at the 2014 Vancouver Chinatown Parade: Sonam, Penny and Archana, Jamie, Sunny and Ian from Richmond Earth Day Summit, Theresa, Laura and Gregg, the Dowhatuluv dance group, Toby Barazzuol and family, Kathryn Lennon.

By Winnie Hwo, Public Engagement Specialist

The Chinese Lunar New Year is often tied to good luck and abundant fortune. While luck and fortune are great, neither will come if we do not take care of the environment and the people we share it with. This is why Team Suzuki decided to share our "horsepower" by bringing sustainable energy to Sunday's Chinese New Year Parade in Vancouver's Chinatown.

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This was year two of our participation in Canada's largest Chinese New Year Parade. Last year, our theme was bringing nature to Chinese New Year. This year, Team Suzuki decided to mark the Year of the Horse by bringing clean energy sources to the parade.

Alongside our homemade solar panels, mini windmills and bicycles, Suzuki elder Penny Wilson, an avid horsewoman, decided to strut her stuff by putting on her equestrian outfit, complete with a stuffed horse on her shoulder. According to Wilson, after spending a lifetime reining in horses, this was the first time she allowed a horse to sit on her shoulder!

As Vancouver's Asian connection has expanded over the years, Vancouver's New Year Parade has also grown in popularity. According to organizers, more than 100,000 people lined the streets along Pender, Main, Gore and Keefer to enjoy the 90-minute parade.


Left: Team Suzuki shows off solar, wind and human power. Right: Suzuki Elder Penny Wilson dressed up in her equestrian garb to rein in the year of the horse.

For the David Suzuki Foundation team, joining the parade is more than sharing our sustainability messages; it is also a special time for us to reconnect with our old friends and meet new ones. One of our dear friends, Toby Barazzuol, brought his family and friends to join Team Suzuki. Toby is president of the Strathcona Business Association and owner of Eclipse Awards, and he generously hosted our youth leaders at his famous green roof atop the Eclipse Awards offices. Our Richmond Earth Day Youth Summit Green Ambassadors, led by Kevin Lyseng and Ian Tom, also rode the Canada Line from Richmond to join us for the second year in a row. Not only did they help us carry our banner and hand out David Suzuki buttons and mandarin oranges, they also brought invitations for residents in Vancouver to join their annual REaDY Summit on April 26. More details on the REaDY Summit will be available next month.

If you were one of the spectators who danced along with our five hip dancers — Bryce, Alex, Momo, Thaiyo and Kim — you'll be interested to know they are from the youth group Dowhatuluv! What could go wrong with a name like that!!


We wish you much sustainable power in the Year of the Horse! To view more pictures of this event, head over to our Flickr page.

Team Suzuki would like to thank the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade committee for inviting us to join for the second year and for reminding parade teams not to give out non-sustainable items like plastic and flyers. We would also like to thank everyone who showed us love and support along the parade route. We will be back again for the 42nd parade next year. Let us know what our theme should be.

February 5, 2014

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