An authentic representation of an age-old Chinese tradition, the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden and Park provide a peaceful oasis in the middle of Vancouver.
Classical Chinese gardens, particularly those on which the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden is modeled, were popular during the Ming Dynasty, which occurred from 1368-1644. At that time, it was commonplace for a Ming scholar to have a private garden where he could live and work. The garden followed a certain design and offered energy to the scholar as well as tranquility.
Like all Chinese gardens of that time period, the Sun Yat-sen Garden, named for “The Father of Modern China”, is based on the harmony of four main elements: rock, water, plants, and architecture. Used together in the right manner, the Chinese maintain that they create a perfect balance – the yin and yang.
The rocks at the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden were imported from Lake Tai near the Chinese city of Suzhou. The limestone rocks, known for their rough beauty, are placed in various locations throughout the garden and a mountain of these color-changing rocks can be found in the center of the Garden.
A pond of jade-green water is a central part of the garden, its color caused by the clay found at the bottom of the pool. Meant to inspire tranquility, the softness of the water balances the hardness of the rock.
A variety of mystical and symbolic plants grace the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden. A mixture of native Chinese and local plants, they include bamboo, cypress, pine, flowering plum, and miniature rhododendron. The plants are meant to set the mood of the park.
The architecture found in any classical Chinese garden is designed to blend with the natural elements, not stand out on its own. In this Vancouver garden, one of the pavilions appears to be floating on water while another imitates the sweeping lines of the garden’s trees. Larger pavilions provide space for gathering, including classes and lectures.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Park
Adjacent to the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden is the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Park, which beautifully complements the classical Chinese garden. In contrary to the garden, the park’s entrance is free. The entrance gate to the park coming from the Cultural Center is marked by a bust of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, who frequently visited Vancouver himself.
The park, with more lush greenery and fewer buildings than the garden, features a central pond with a Chinese pavilion. From the park, you can actually glimpse into the garden.
The Dr. Sun Yat-sen Garden and Park are tucked inside Vancouver’s Chinatown, near the Chinese Cultural Center at Pender Street, Chinatown’s main street.
The garden is open all year-long for self-guided tours, and some guided tours are offered on particular evenings. A gift shop onsite sells Chinese treasures and collectibles. Entrance to the park is free, but there is an admission fee for the garden.