How to Visit Vancouver's Hidden Chinese Garden
Tucked amongst the shops and cafes of colorful Chinatown at 578 Carrall Street, the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a little oasis in the city of Vancouver, BC.
Popular with locals looking for a leisurely stroll, tourists looking for an interesting attraction, and film crews looking for places that look like China, the Chinese Garden tops most people's list for a nature photo in China, the heart of the city.
Named one of the best urban gardens in the world by National Geographic, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Classical Chinese Garden was the first large-scale classical Chinese garden to be built outside of China.
Spring and fall bring the most vibrant colors to the garden, but the covered walkways and picturesque pavilions make it a favorite destination any time of year.
We hope you enjoy watching this video about Classical Chinese Garden Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
Source: Let's Walk Somewhere
History of the Chinese classical garden of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
Situated on the site of Vancouver's original Chinatown near False Creek, the garden is located in an area that was once home to a variety of businesses, from a sawmill to brothels, an opera, an opium factory, and even The Great Northern Railway train station until closing in 1920.
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden looks traditional, but it was built in 1986 as part of the 1986 Expo celebrations.
Fifty-three master craftsmen came from Suzhou with 965 boxes of materials.
They built the garden by hand in 13 months using authentic 14th-century methods, which meant no screws, glue, or power tools were used.
At the time, it was the first large-scale classical Chinese garden built outside of Asia and is inspired by the gardens of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in the Chinese city of Suzhou.
Planning for the 2.5-acre Dr. Sun Yat-Sen park began in 1976 and opened in 1983 as a free public space administered by the Vancouver Board of Parks.
To help pay for the public park, the ½-acre Classical Garden opened in 1986 (and then expanded in 2004) and is now managed by the non-profit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden Society.
The garden is named after the Chinese revolutionary Dr. Sun Yat-Sen (1866-1925), known as the "Father of modern China".
He was educated in the West as a doctor but returned to China to unify his country.
Dr. Yat-Sen visited Vancouver several times in the early 1900s, staying close to where the garden now stands in his honor.
What to See There
Based on the Taoist principle of yin and yang, each element of the garden is symbolic and balanced.
Highlights include the koi fish in Jade Green Lake, a unique collection of Tai Hu rock imported from Tai Lake in China, 150-year-old miniature trees, and 43 "leaky" lattice windows.
Classical Chinese gardens come in three styles (Imperial, Monastery, and Academic) and the Vancouver version follows the Scholar style, including high walls to avoid distractions from the outside world and featuring a winding path that zigzags to give visitors more time to explore. think (and protections away from evil spirits).
Architecture, rocks, water, plants, and calligraphy are key elements of Classic Chinese Gardens and free guided tours are available (with the admission fee) to learn more.
Garden plants are chosen for their symbolism and include gingko to represent China, maple for Canada, bamboo to represent flexibility, and pine to show longevity.
How to Visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Classical Chinese Garden
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park is a public garden with a water lily pond, a pagoda, and winding paths; it is open to the public during the day and has no admission fee.
The museum portion of the park has an admission fee of $ 12 from October to April ($ 14 from May to September) and is open every day except Mondays from November 1 to April 30.
Explore independently or take one of the 45-minute guided tours included in the admission fee to learn more about the symbolism in the garden.
The entrance to the garden is at 578 Carrall Street; the public entrance is through the patio door and the entrance to the museum is through the next door.
Chinatown is within walking distance of most downtown hotels and is served by the TransLink bus service and the SkyTrain system, which stops at the nearby Chinatown-Stadium station.
Educational events take place throughout the year, and the garden hosts musical events, art exhibitions, and author conferences, as well as unique festivals, Halloween celebrations, and special concerts.
Traditional tea service, calligraphy workshops, and other cultural events are held throughout the year, but the garden's biggest celebration takes place during the Chinese Lunar New Year in February.
Lanterns in the gardens light up the garden for three fun weekends as the garden is magically transformed for this traditional Chinese festival.
What to See Nearby
The bustling Chinatown is literally on your doorstep and you'll find everything from traditional teahouses to trendy bars, cafes, and boutiques.
Our Chinatown guide has everything you need to know to plan your visit to one of the best Chinatowns in North America! Shopping is one of the biggest attractions - browse the bustling boutiques and then pause in the tranquil garden for a moment of reflection.
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