Tourism and hospitality businesses across Metro Vancouver are participating in the social media movement #WeAreTourism. We are supporting each other by sharing these stories of challenge and hope. 

This is one story. 

It was only a year ago when Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden welcomed 700 guests to its annual Mid Autumn Moon event, a four-hour celebration of the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival.

This year, there was no big celebration at the garden because of the global pandemic. Instead, locals and visitors were encouraged to purchase tickets online and visit the Garden at their own time to appreciate the festive decorations, or to follow the garden’s social media channels to learn more about the traditional Chinese holiday.

Established 35 years ago, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden was the first full-scaled classical Chinese garden built outside of China, with a mandate to promote cross-cultural education and sharing.

“We operate as a museum, a gallery, a tourist attraction, and a cultural and educational programming facility,” explains Martha Nelson, Marketing and Visitor Experience Manager of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. “We try to represent different cultures and people from different backgrounds in our community, and provide a space and a venue for those kinds of dialogue and exchange.”

Every year, 100,000 visitors domestically and internationally marvel at the beauty of this classical Chinese garden. Proceeds from admission sales enable the garden to offer a wide variety of cultural activities to its neighbours and local community, such as festivals, school programming, workshops and wellness programs.

Due to COVID-19, the garden was closed for four months, during which time they looked to virtual programming. They held virtual Art Talks that celebrated every art form, and brought their wellness programs online free of charge. When they finally re-opened in July, it was at reduced capacity and some adjustments had been made on site. A new ticketing system is now in place to allow timed, staggered entry. They have designed a one-way loop for better flow of traffic by using the Moon Gate on Keefer Street as their temporary entrance and exit. Plastic shields can be seen at the entrance and gift shop cash register, and hand sanitizer is stationed throughout the garden to protect the garden’s staff and visitors. 

Group tours and school programming were also put on hold. The garden’s half-day and full-day school programming has been instrumental in providing cultural education for K-12 students. 2019-20 school year alone, 5,000 students across Lower Mainland participated in the program. To continue its long-standing education programming, the garden has just launched some tools and resources online for teachers, parents and students.

“We see our role in providing these learning kits, making them accessible at home, and continuing to offer the cultural diversity education to the community,” adds Martha.

Today, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is seeing approximately 10% of their usual ticket sales. But with its open-air space, intricate design, and detailed architecture, the garden is well positioned to be a great event venue option. In fact, over the summer it has hosted a few micro-weddings and a free PopupOpera event with City Opera Vancouver.

As fall and winter approach, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden asks the locals and the community to also engage with them online — participate in their virtual Art Talks, sign up for the Wellness At Home program, download their cultural education resources, visit their online gift shop, and stay connected on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Join the cultural dialogues and exchanges anytime, anywhere!

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
578 Carrall Street, Vancouver

ARTICLE BY: Kumquat Marketing
PHOTOS BY:  Vision Event Photography
SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT BY: Creative Contessa Marketing