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Tuesday, May 24, 2011


On one of our rare sunny days this Spring, a friend and I went for a walk in the Sun Yat Sen Gardens.
This beautiful garden and park in the midst of Vancouver’ Chinatown is an authentic reproduction of an age-old Chinese tradition.  Classical gardens such as these were popular during the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644).  Ming scholars had private gardens where they could live and work.  The gardens followed certain traditional designs to provide the scholar with tranquillity and spiritual energy.

This garden is dedicated to Sun Yat-Sen, the ‘father of modern China”. Like all Chinese gardens of that era, is based on the harmony of four main elements: rock, water, plants and architecture.  Blended together they create a perfect balance -- the yin and yang.

The rocks used in the garden and park were imported from Lake Tai near the Chinese city of Suzhou.  These limestone rocks, known for their rough beauty, are placed in various locations throughout the Garden, around a jade-green pond meant to inspire tranquillity.  (The softness of the water balances the hardness of the rock).

The Garden and Park are is planted with a variety of symbolic plants, mixing native Chinese and local plants including bamboo, cypress, pine, flowering plum and miniature rhododendron.
The traditional architecture, found in all classical Chinese gardens, blends with the natural elements.

Adjacent to the Garden is the Dr. SunYat- Sen park which compliments the Garden.  The entrance to the Park is free. There is a bust of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen , who visited Vancouver frequently, at the entrance gate.  Next to the Park and Garden is the Chinese Cultural Centre, on Chinatown’s main street.

There is an admission fee for entry into the Garden, but the Park is free, and it’s well worth a visit at any time of year, a place to get away from the busy city streets where you can meditate on the beauties of nature in a serene setting.

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