An authentic representation of an age-old Chinese tradition, Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden and Park is a peaceful oasis in downtown Vancouver. The classical Chinese gardens on which the site was modeled were popular during the Ming Dynasty, which occurred in 1368-1644. At that time, it was common for the Ming Dynasty to have their own garden where they could live and work. The garden followed a certain design and offered energy and tranquility to the scientist.
Like all Chinese gardens of that time, named after the “Father of Modern China,” Sun Yat-sen’s garden is based on the harmony of four basic elements: stones, water, plants and architecture. When used correctly, the Chinese claim that they create the perfect balance – yin and yang.
The stones in Sun Yat-sen’s garden were brought from Lake Tai near the Chinese city of Suzhou. Limestone cliffs, known for their rugged beauty, are scattered throughout the garden, and a mountain of these color-changing rocks sits in the center of the garden. The jade-green water pond is the centerpiece of the garden – its color comes from the clay found at the bottom of the pool. The pond is able to inspire calmness, and the softness of the water is balanced by the hardness of the rock.
A variety of mystical and symbolic plants adorn Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s garden. It features a mix of Chinese and local plants, including bamboo, cypress, pine, plum blossom and miniature rhododendron. Plants are designed to create a special atmosphere of the park.
The architecture of any classical Chinese garden is designed to blend in with natural elements rather than stand out in isolation. In this Vancouver garden, one of the pavilions appears to be floating on water, while another mimics the garden’s broad tree lines. Large pavilions provide space for gatherings, including classes and lectures.
Next to the garden of Dr. Sun Yat-sen is a park that perfectly complements the classic Chinese garden. Unlike the garden, admission to the park is free. The entrance gate to the park is marked with a bust of Sun Yat-sen, who frequented Vancouver. With more lush greenery and fewer buildings, the park has a central pond with a Chinese pavilion. You can also visit the separate article on Vancouver’s Chinatown.
Visiting the garden and park
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden and Park is located in Vancouver’s Chinatown, next to the Chinese Cultural Center on Pender Street, Chinatown’s main street. The garden is open year-round for self-guided tours. Some excursions are conducted with a guide. The gift shop sells Chinese souvenirs and collectibles. Entrance to the park is free, but there is a fee to enter the garden.
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