“During our visit at the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden, we were able to take a glimpse into life and culture during the Ming Dynasty. One individual we took a look at was the Scholar; his ordinary life, occupation, and how these elements were expressed throughout his own home. We also took a look at the architecture and history of the garden itself. Many of the elements within the garden reflected the themes of Taoism; how opposite elements contrast and complement each other. For example, all the plants are accompanied by rocks, to contrast the living to the non-living. Lots of elements within the garden also express the idea of the fusion of Chinese and Canadian Culture, with one of these exhibits containing a combination and fusion of Aboriginal and Chinese art. The garden also has significance to Chinatown itself, being the first Chinese garden outside China. Overall, our trip to the garden was not only a fun experience, but equally interesting!”
“We took the school bus to Chinatown and the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden on Monday, October 4th. The tour guides took us on a tour of the garden while telling us about a scholar who would have lived in a similar house/garden. We learned that all of the building materials used in the garden’s construction were imported from China, including the rocks used in the paths and decorative rocks, which came from a Chinese river. Following the tour of the garden, all of the Mandarin classes walked around Chinatown together. We stopped at a bakery, where some students and teachers purchased Chinese buns and pastries. That was our final stop before boarding the bus back to school.
We learned that scholars were required to study art and music. Before they could become a scholar and work for the Emperor, they had to pass imperial examinations. These tests were extremely difficult, and only 5% of those who were eligible to take them passed. We also learned about the symbolism behind the garden decorations. Geometric shapes and sharper lines were seen as masculine, while curved shapes and flowing lines were seen as feminine. Even the water was symbolic; it was dyed with clay to represent jade. This field trip was very beneficial in expanding our understanding about Chinese history and culture.”