“On January 28th, 2024, the “China Story · Chinese New Year” Canadian Overseas Chinese New Year Gala was splendidly staged at the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre with the theme ‘The Jade Rabbit bids farewell to the Moon Palace, the Golden Dragon celebrates in the East Sea.’ The entire show was a spectacular blend of traditional Chinese culture and international contemporary art, delivering an audio-visual feast that seamlessly combined Eastern and Western elements.”
Amidst the dazzling lights and cheerful music, two golden dragons made their way from the audience to the stage, marking the auspicious beginning of the Lunar New Year celebration in the Year of the Dragon. With gleaming golden lights and the undulating movements of the dragons, the spectacle sparked surprise and cheers, igniting an atmosphere of auspiciousness and joy throughout the entire gala. The lively and festive scene infused the event with a rich Chinese New Year flavor.
The highlight of the gala was a carefully curated selection of dances. Performances such as “Embroidered Shadows and Fragrant Incense” by Shangpin Oriental Art Space, the Dai ethnic dance “Manjushahua” by Sun Ling Dance School, the classical dance “Distant Qing Mountain” by Huanyan Club, “Flower of Jinling” by Fengcai Art Troupe, and “River of Life” by Yangyang Dance Studio, intertwined to create a splendid panorama of traditional Chinese culture.
The ballet performance “Omens of Joy” presented by the local Russian community’s Moonlight Ballet Troupe was captivating. The dancers conveyed a joyful atmosphere through graceful steps and exquisite skills, immersing the audience in a world of mystery and delight. This performance added a beautiful touch to the gala.
Students from the Li Wenqi Wushu Academy delivered an exhilarating martial arts performance. With blades, swords, sticks, and rods flipping through the air, they showcased exceptional martial arts skills. Each move and shout echoed with the might and passion of martial arts, emphasizing not only their martial prowess but also the heritage of Chinese martial arts culture. The Yangyang Dance Studio presented a modern dance titled “Baguazhang,” interpreting the traditional martial art of Baguazhang through dance and showcasing the majestic beauty of Eastern martial arts.
This performance not only emphasizes the presentation of traditional culture but also showcases the multicultural integration of the new generation of Chinese abroad. The traditional Peking Opera “Heavenly Maiden Scattering Flowers” by the Echoing Traditional Culture Study Society of the University of Toronto, the young children’s Guzheng ensemble performance of “Spring River Flower Moon Night,” and the modern dance Hip-hop “Show You Can” by Soul Attention, along with the creatively choreographed original dance compilation “Dance Stars Shining” from the director of the evening, all present the multifaceted aspects of modern and traditional Chinese culture.
The gala was brimming with the festive spirit, and the Red Maple Sunset Art Troupe’s senior dance performance “Mom’s New Year’s Eve Dinner” evoked poignant memories of family reunions and festive dinners through expressive dance. Notably, the average age of the troupe is 68, with the eldest member being 81. Their heartwarming performance carried a sense of nostalgia, leaving the audience with indelible sentiments.
The emcee highly praised the Toronto Theatre Group’s skit “I Love Chinese Cuisine” as a program that was incredibly down-to-earth. This humorous and witty original skit, through clever translations of Chinese dish names, highlighted the peculiarities of language and cultural differences, creating a succession of hilarious moments that resonated with the audience.
In the vocal category, the My Love Youth Choir presented a children’s choir performance of “Something Just Like This” and “孤勇者” (“Lone Hero”). One of the children’s seemingly playful actions became a delightful highlight of the live performance. Additionally, three award-winning champions from local and international singing competitions performed “A Million Dreams,” expressing their resolute determination to bravely pursue and fight for their dreams. These three singing champions showcased the artistic style of the younger generation of Chinese descendants. Finally, the performance of “中国故事” (“Chinese Story”) by soprano singer Sun Guonan brought the entire evening to a perfect conclusion.
This year’s Spring Festival Gala, titled “中国故事·中国年” (“China Story · Chinese New Year”), is sponsored by the China Construction Bank Toronto Branch. It is jointly organized by the Chinese Journalists Association of Canada, Canadian Vision Media, and the Richmond Hill Multicultural Centre. The gala, now in its sixth edition since its debut in 2018, has become a well-known brand in the Chinese New Year celebration, maintaining its production by the Canadian Entertainment Alliance.
The event’s organizer, Jennifer Zhu, shared the founding intentions and the six-year journey of the “中国故事·中国年” (China Story · Chinese New Year) Canadian Overseas Chinese New Year Gala with the guests at the pre-show reception. She also extended New Year blessings to everyone in attendance.
During the celebration ceremony before the opening, Deputy Consul General Cheng Hongbo from the Consulate-General of China in Toronto stated that the “中国故事中国年加拿大华侨华人春晚” (China Story · Chinese New Year Canadian Overseas Chinese New Year Gala) revolves around the theme of telling the Chinese story. It aims to spread a friendly, lovely, and genuine three-dimensional image of China, making it a distinctive event in the Consulate General’s “Joyful Spring Festival” series. Through grassroots cultural exchanges, it contributes to promoting the improvement of China-Canada relations and ultimately getting them back on the right track.
Cheng Hongbo remarked that the Spring Festival is the most important festival for the Chinese nation, and the traditional Chinese New Year increasingly carries a global flavor. Chinese culture is an integral part of Canada’s proud multiculturalism. The celebration of the Spring Festival is not confined to the Chinese community but has extended to mainstream communities. People of all ethnicities come together to celebrate and share the Chinese New Year, experiencing the joyful atmosphere of the festival.
Richmond Hill Mayor David West, Deputy Mayor Godwin Chan , Regional Councillor Alan Oh, representatives of federal Members of Parliament Majid Jowhari and Shaun Chen, community leader Bing Ding Chen, and the Operations Director of the Toronto Branch of the China Construction Bank, Karina Yu, delivered speeches during the celebration ceremony and watched the performances.
In conclusion, the organizers extended special thanks to the China Construction Bank Toronto Branch, Liuquan Winery, Shenghui International, Sunshine Supermarket, Lingoace, the Canada Chinese Entrepreneur Alliance, and the Guizhou Hanli Soy Sauce Research Institute for their generous support of the event.