Easter Weekend and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classic Chinese Garden


We managed a mini-vacation day in the city of Vancouver during the fast-paced Easter weekend and found ourselves wandering through the first classical Chinese garden constructed outside of China. It is modeled after private classical gardens in the city of Suzhou during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). Although not large, the garden presents a constantly changing series of vistas. You have only to turn your head or the angle of your body and everything is viewed anew.


Located in the midst of Vancouver’s Chinatown, the garden is an experience of balance. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is an example of a secluded, urban garden-home where landscape masterpieces embody the best of Chinese arts, gardening, philosophy and architecture.

Four main elements dominate – buildings represent the human element, rocks symbolize rugged landscapes and sculptural elements, water creates a tranquil atmosphere in which to reflect all the other elements and plants represent nature.


I was drawn over and over to the magnolias dropping their heavy pink blossoms into the cloudy, jade-green water, reflected back to me in rippling movement, the wooden window enclosures – everyone different in design, leaking in air, breeze, light and the scenery from beyond, the intricate stonework in the courtyard where pebbles and rock are turned into art and the Tai Hu Rocks – fantastically shaped stone that changes with the light and angle of viewing.



Thanks for letting me share some photos of this beautiful garden tucked into the city. I wish all of you a wonderful Easter long weekend and ask your indulgence to share a link to the latest guest post on my blog tour. I was honoured to be able to appear on Gemma Hawdon’s blog – Top of the Slush Pile to do a guest post on how self-publishing feels the second time around.




22 comments on “Easter Weekend and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classic Chinese Garden

  1. smilecalm says:

    such a serene, beautiful place
    to parade an Easter bonnet 🙂

  2. Portland also has a garden like this, with a waterfall and lake, and wonderful windows here and there, amazing plants and each walkway a little different from the next. I didn’t know that there was another garden like this outside of China! Ours has been around about 15 years or so – when it was first built, there was trouble with the lake leaking, but they fixed it We seem to have more buildings next to ours; it’s a little hard to tell. Next time you come through Portland, you might want to take a look. It’s in Chinatown, in downtown NW Portland, I think on 5th Avenue and maybe Everett… not too sure. Hope you have a great Easter. I may be coming up to the Island in a little while – my niece who lives in Courtney may have a life threatening form of cancer; we’ll know more towards the end of the week. When I visit, I may only get so far as Victoria and their hospital, we’ll see how it goes. If I get to Courtney, it might be fun to take a longer trip up the Island to meet you and your husband.

    • We visited some wonderful gardens when in Portland a few years back. Haven’t been to the one you speak of and will put it on our list for another time. Stay in touch as your trip to the Island evolves.

  3. sknicholls says:

    Your lovely descriptions made me feel like I was there and everything is going to be alright 🙂

  4. Debbie Young says:

    Wow, I love that window surround – and the whole place looks doubly soothing for being so close to the contrasting bustle of skyscrapers

    • Yes – quite amazing to walk off the crowded sky-train, down a couple of blocks and into such a peaceful space. The circular wood frames around the windows were fascinating – created in such a way as to frame an exact view.

  5. Jet Eliot says:

    I enjoyed your peaceful tour of this garden, thank you Francis.

  6. Gwen Stephens says:

    Looks lovely, Fran. I enjoyed your post over on Gemma’s blog.

  7. I love how most big cities have their own chinese gardens. I have been to Vancouver but I did not find the gardens they look beautiful.

  8. Beautiful, Fran! Thanks for sharing a bit of your Easter get-away.
    I enjoyed your post on Gemma’s blog!

  9. We have a Japanese garden in the grounds of a large Victorian house on the shores of the Forth. On walking through its gates you feel transported to another world, one where peace and tranquility reign. There is something very special created by the mix of water, wood, stone, shapes and plants.

  10. dex says:

    Sounds like a pleasant way to spend a day. Thanks for sharing the pictures! 🙂

  11. Lovely Fran…I live in Vancouver and I’ve never even been! I hope you had a lovely Easter weekend! 🙂

    • I love to think of Hazy in Vancouver – sounds like the title of a great book or maybe a band. Hope you’re enjoying the weather there. The sun has just started to shine in Ottawa and it’s lovely.

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