Despite the fantastic sunshine, the days of summer is coming to an end, as the sun is slowly setting earlier and I’ve seem to run out of steam and money for summer traveling …
Still, there are some local close-by adventures.. like Chinatown for instance!
I used to go to Chinese school here and before school, I would eat at the many cafes for lunch and then during break, visit the souvenir shops that sold Hello Kitty stuff nearby. Unfortunately, most of it closed down.
Chinatown in Vancouver lost a lot of its vibrancy, with many shops closing down and the fact that it is located right next to Main St. and Hastings (the worse part in town) doesn’t help either. Before, I wouldn’t really want to be here after 5 PM.
Nevertheless, Chinatown is prime location with its close proximity to downtown and the sporting arenas. There have been some apartment developments as well as new niche shops, pubs, and many many coffee shops that opened up .. it’s like the new hipster area! There are still some Chinese souvenirs and gift shops available for tourists, who came here for the Chinatown experience … as well as a Chinese garden.
There is a Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and a Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park. The former is paid admission but its plants etc are better taken care of and has various halls, painting and other items. The latter is a public park and has a pagoda. I have never been to the Chinese Garden so I am excited to go this time.
Admission is $14 for adults but it does include a tour guide. More about hours and admission rate here.
The first thing we saw was the Courtyard, which has many hidden elements. There is meaning behind the white rocks and black roofs (yin and yang) and the green colored pond. It is most famous for the formation rocks that were imported from China.
The first hall we encountered was the China Maple Hall. It was a living room and a place to welcome guest (I think they were for the rich).
They used gingko and camphor wood. The gingko is used for the carved screen where as the camphor wood helps ward off bugs. The camphor is also great for baths and to ward off mosquitoes. They did not use nails to build the building, rather they used mortise and tenon, putting them together like puzzles..
There is another room where you can have free tea and read about the history of Chinatown.
A fake window
A small exhibition of artifacts and rock formations.
The study and the courtyard again. The way they did the tiles on the ground is quite nice, it ensure it won’t crack as much.
The lookout is under renovation but it still looks nice …
The place is quite nice, so much so that people come here for wedding photos.
A mix of old Chinese and modernity in the city of Vancouver.
All the windows here are different shapes.
More exotic plants in a pot.
The rest of the photos. For more information : you can check the virtual museum.
That was the Chinese Garden – and here is the Park!
There is the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park, which is free, and the Sun Yat Sen Garden, which costs money. The park is quite nice, if not a bit crowded with tourists on weekends.
Across is the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden, which was constructed with materials from China for authenticity as well as flowers and plants not found in the park. I think there is also a place to drink tea in there, but I have never been inside myself …
Despite the water looking kind of murky, there are living species in there (like a kappa! .. J/K). Some people believe that releasing fish into water brings prosperity .., possibly karma for setting it free. It became a problem in some places … I don’t know if someone release this fish into this pond though. There also used to be turtles and kids sometimes throw rocks at them (no, not me).
The other entrance …. it leads to the Chinese Cultural Center, which was very popular with parents ..for bringing their kids to learn Chinese that is.
If you don’t want to go to the Starbucks or the many other coffee shops in Chinatown, there still exists some Chinese medicine stores. A lot of them also sells flowers for tea .. at a much cheaper price that those herbal teas sold elsewhere.
Each year, there is also the Chinatown festival:
FYI: Chinatown is a good place for pubs, western sandwiches and coffee shops. It also has some high place Chinese fusion food. In a way, it is only in name only …I had ramen and creme brule last time.