In China‘s Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), elite scholars would spend most of the day in their intricately designed gardens, using these spaces for both work and contemplation. The philosophy behind these classical gardens revolves around a collaboration between rock, water, plant, and architecture – the typical Taoist belief that opposites can create harmony together when in balance.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, China’s first president and iconic revolutionary, was devoted to the promotion of democracy. He is commonly considered to be the “father” of the nation, and he even visited Vancouver on several occasions in pursuit of support and fund-raising for his political uprising.
2011 is the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden‘s 25th birthday. No nails or screws were used in any of the garden’s construction, which took about a year and was completed with the help of dozens of expert craftsmen from China. Pavilions like the Colorful and Cloudy Pavilion, the Jade Water Pavilion, the China Maple Hall, and the Hall of a Hundred Rivers incorporate architectural intentions such as slowing down a visitor’s pace via zig-zagging pathways. Weathered limestone rocks were imported from China and seem to change shape depending on where the sun is in the sky. You’ll also find bamboo, cypress, pine, and plum trees.
Although classical Chinese garden philosophies were the main foundation, so to speak, of this unique and tranquil place, the design was also intended to serve as a metaphor for understanding and cooperation between East and West – so you’ll also see plants local to Vancouver.
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden was the first of its kind outside China. The garden is open from 10am to 4:30pm every day, and admission includes a guided tour and a cup of Chinese tea!