1 of 1000: Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver, Canada

Chinese Parlor
Chinese Parlor

The Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a replica of a classical Chinese garden as they have been built in Suzhou, China in the Ming dynasty (1386-1644). It was the first Chinese garden outside of China that was built exactly like the old ones in China.

Not only did they solely use materials imported from China, but they also used the exact techniques that were used hundreds of years back. That means no power tools, no nails and no glue was used for the construction of the Sun Yat-Sen Garden.

dr sun yat sen statue
Dr. Sun Yat Sen statue

If you are wondering who Sun Yat-Sen was, he was one of the first president and founding father of the Republic of China and is considered to be the father of modern day China. The park and garden was named in his honor, because he tried to bring Chinese culture to the west and give the western countries a better understanding of what China really is, just like the garden helps understand Chinese culture today.

What Is A Chinese Traditional Garden?

These gardens are not comparable to any western style garden as you might know them. They are much more a house and living area than just a garden.

Bridge chinese garden
Nice Bridge with two sidewalks

They are building complexes within cities where the Scholars used to live, that’s why they are often also referred to as “Scholar’s gardens”.

All throughout the garden complex you find four elements: water, rocks, plants and architecture. The elements water, rocks and plants are used to create miniature landscapes. As you are moving along the halls and walkways along the garden you see these miniature landscapes as if they were paintings.

I never knew how amazing the detail of a classical Chinese garden could be like before I actually saw one.

Circle entrance sun yat sen garden
Circle entrance

Now that we visited the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, I found a deep respect for these types of gardens. Everything is so intensely thought through. Every little piece had a purpose. Wherever you look, there is always a balance between feminine and masculine architecture, plants and rocks, dark and bright.

If you really want to learn to appreciate the garden, you should take advantage of the hourly tour that is included in the admission fee. This way, you’ll be able to understand and learn about all those little nuances that you most likely would miss if you don’t have anyone to make you aware of them.

Chinese picture window
Chinese picture window

Of course there are lots of superstitious elements in the garden as well. Learning about them and finding the little elements all around the garden is at least as much fun as admiring the beauty of the garden itself.

Is The Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden 1 Of The 1000?

As much as the garden and Chinese craftsmanship amazed me, there is one simple reason why this place does not belong t the list:

Sun Yat Sen Park
View from Sun Yat Sen Park

It is a replica. And a small one, too. The Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver is a beautiful replica, but a replica nonetheless.

And since there are still so many great Chinese classical gardens still intact, like the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, China, which is supposed to be one of the finest Chinese Gardens in the world, I don’t see, why the much bigger and older original garden is not one of the places and one of the replicas is in there.

Therefore, this one will get scratched of the list, but at the same time, we’ll add the Humble Adminstrator’s Garden to the list.

Mint stone floor
Mint stone floor

Even though we scratched it, if you find yourself in Vancouver and you don’t have the chance to go to Suzhou in the foreseeable future, please go and see the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden as it will give you a much better understanding of the wonderful traditional Chinese culture.

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