A tranquil spot to visit in Vancouver is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Modelled on the traditional design of a scholar’s garden from 15th Century China, during the Ming Dynasty, this stunning space features different elements that create a peaceful, harmonized environment. Everything from the jade green water and mystical plants to the weathered rocks and beautiful architecture comes together to promote the perfect balance of yin and yang.
This classical Chinese garden opened in 1986 and was a celebration of the city’s vibrant Chinese culture. After a history of tension and mistreatment of the Canadian Chinese community, it symbolized a will for everybody to work together side by side. The majority of Chinese immigrants arrived during the 1880s to help build the Canadian Pacific Railway. They were paid lowly wages compared to their white counterparts and many perished in the awful conditions. To top this off, after the work was done they were treated like second-class citizens and segregated from society.
They were heavily taxed, prevented from obtaining good jobs and were not allowed to vote. It was not until 1949, after the Canadian Chinese fought during the Second World War, that they were finally allowed to vote – ending a period known as the long disgrace.
This beautiful garden, which was named after Chinese revolutionary Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, symbolizes a meeting of Chinese and western cultures. Constructed exactly how it would have been more than 2,000 years ago, 52 craftsmen from Suzhou in China – each experts in different aspects of classical Chinese garden design – were brought over to Vancouver to work on the project alongside Canadian craftsmen. Traditional tools were used and all of the materials were sourced from China.
This idyllic setting really does turn back the clock to ancient China and it is easy to forget that the bustling Vancouver cityscape lies outside the walls. Circular archways, known as moon gates, frame inviting scenes and intricate woodwork adds textured accents to the verdant landscaping. Beautiful pebbled mosaics cover the ground, while miniature trees and terracotta pots add decoration.
“Tai Hu rocks imported from China are believed to have supernatural powers to entice lucky spirits.”
Rugged rocks have been incorporated throughout the garden in such a way that is hard to believe the layout is completely man-made. These fossil limestone rocks, known as Tai Hu rocks, were imported from China and are believed to have supernatural powers to entice lucky spirits. At the heart off the the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is the pretty pond. Clay is placed at the bottom of the water to create a jade colour that is said to promote tranquility. Lily pads cover the surface and the resident fish add flashes of orange gold to the peaceful palette. Every morning, a gong signals feeding time and the fish gather round with their mouths popping up in anticipation.
The stunning architecture perfectly complements the other elements and adds to the overall mystique…
When we visited there was an opportunity to have a go at calligraphy…
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Location: Chinatown, Carroll Street, Vancouver, Canada
Cost: $14 (£8.58) adults, $11 (£6.74) seniors, $10 (£6.13) students