Upcoming Events

September 1, 2016

Small is Beautiful Exhibit by Joanne Frewer

Small is Beautiful: 100 Miniature Shrines Exhibit
by Joanne Frewer

Exhibit: Sept. 1 – 29, 2016
Included with Garden Admission | Free for Garden Members

Opening Reception: Thursday Sept. 8, 2016 | 4-6pm
Included with Garden Admission | Free for Garden Members

“SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL. Look closely and find stillness, grace, humor and so many little surprises.” – Joanne Frewer

The inspiration for a series of miniature dioramas was born when Joanne saw a scene in her home in a fresh way. The juxtaposition of a Buddha in front of a painting made it seem like he was sitting on the beach. Her imagination firing, she thought “What if the Buddha went to the beach? What if he was a part of daily life?” This led to her first series of 100 shrines and a project now ten years in the making.

She never really understood her passion for shrine-making until she met a Buddhist teacher who said, ‘when you make Buddhist art, you become it and it heals you.’ She then realized it was part of the healing process for the passing of her dear brother.

Ten years later, shrine-making has transformed into an artistic meditation. There is a serenity and rhythm to the process. “You can’t hurry with miniatures. It takes days to make each one and to place all the tiny pieces.  It taught me to slow down,” she says.

Creation starts by browsing her collection of thousands of miniatures sourced from all over the world.

Now on her third series of shrines, making 300 unique pieces and counting, she returns to exhibit in the appropriately named “Hall of 100 Rivers” at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

What people have said about Joanne’s work:
“Artist Joanne Frewer has constructed a collection of handmade shadow boxes containing miniature detailed scenes with Buddha, Kuan Yin and other deities. Each box draws you into a world where you might meet Buddha in Mexico or in his kitchen, or the God of Wealth in a forest. Created as a way to commemorate a beloved brother, each work is an expression of serenity and joy”. - Kathy Gibler, former Executive Director of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

“Joanne Frewer’s intricate handmade shadow boxes pull you into a detailed miniature world where deities roam…” - Georgia Straight, 2009


Start: September 1, 2016 9:30 am
End: September 29, 2016 6:00 pm

October 1, 2016

Miao Folk Art

Miao Folk Art

Date: October 1 – November 30, 2016
Opening Reception: Sat. October 8 | 4:00 - 6:00pm | Included with Garden Admission

Miao Folk Art offers a peek into the lives of the Miao people, one of many diverse minority groups in China, residing primarily in Guizhou province. Showcasing a segment of the art and culture of modern Miao communities, this exhibit features vintage and antique dress, embroidery, batik pieces, religious masks and jewelry accompanied by photographs of Guizhou by renowned anthropologist Evelyn Nodwell and refashioned modern embroidery by Guizhou native fashion designer Crystal Zhang.

The embroidery and jewelry of Miao people are embellished with unique festive and religious representations of myths, legends and social ranks. Their dress and exquisite silver ornament designs incorporate ancient symbols, reflecting the passing on of oral traditions unique to different Miao sub-groups.

Miao Folk Art was produced by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in partnership with the Asia Pacific International Artist Foundation, the City of Burnaby and, most notably, the inspiring people of the Miao villages in Guizhou.


Start: October 1, 2016 10:00 am
End: November 30, 2016 4:30 pm

October 15, 2016

Book Launch of “Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton”

Book Launch of “Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton” 
Edited by Mary Chapman 

Date: October 15, 2016 | 2:00pm-4:00pm | FREE

Born to a Chinese mother and British father, Edith Eaton (1865-1914), who wrote under the pseudonym “Sui Sin Far”, is often considered the mother of Asian North American literature for her early work first published in 1912, a collection of short story fiction about Chinatowns in North America. However, more recently UBC English professor Mary Chapman discovered nearly 200 additional works of fiction, journalism and travel written by Eaton previous to her 1912 collection, revealing Eaton as a much more complex and dynamic writer. Through Chapman’s discovery and work to collect and contextualize her findings in Becoming Sui Sin Far, it is uncovered that Eaton was also a talented lobbyist for the Chinese community, an early Canadian woman journalist, one of the first travel writers to describe crossing Canada by rail, and a talented transnational writer, whose career took her from England to Montreal, to Thunder Bay to Jamaica, and beyond.
Chapman launches her book, Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton, at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden with a short talk, slideshow, and book-signing.

“A polished and nuanced study that will make an extraordinary intervention into studies of Edith Eaton and scholarship about Asian North American writers. Mary Chapman has done a heroic act of recovery work, and developed a very strong argument about the significance of Eaton’s writing.” Martha Curtter, University of Connecticut


Start: October 15, 2016 2:00 pm
End: October 15, 2016 4:00 pm

November 1, 2016

PANEL DISCUSSION: “All Our Father’s Relations: Stories of Shared Chinese and First Nations Heritage” as part of the Heart of the City Festival

PANEL DISCUSSION: “All Our Father’s Relations: Stories of Shared Chinese and First Nations Heritage” as part of the Heart of the City Festival 

Date: Tues. November 1, 2016 | 7:00pm-8:30pm | FREE

Come join us for an evening of storytelling about the intertwining heritage of First Nations and Chinese communities in BC, inspired by the exciting new documentary film All Our Father’s Relations from Producer Sarah Wai Yee Ling and Director Al Yoshizawa of Right Relations.

Meet and speak with key storytellers from the film, Larry Grant and Howard E. Grant, the filmmakers, see select clips, and hear from other notable local figures with stories of First Nations and Chinese joint history.
Presented by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden as part of the Heart of the City Festival, and in partnership with the Vancouver Asian Film FestivalHapa-palooza Festival, and Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia.

About the film:
“All Our Father’s Relations (祖根父脈) tells the story of the Grant siblings who journey from Vancouver to China in an attempt to rediscover their father’s roots and better understand his fractured relationship with their Musqueam mother. Raised primarily in the traditions of the Musqueam people, the Grant family and their story reveals the shared struggles of migrants and Aboriginal peoples today and in the past.
This film helps to record and revitalize the interconnected histories of Chinese Canadian and First Nations relations along the Fraser River in British Columbia. Dating as far back as the 19th century, relations between Chinese and First Nations in Canada were often respectful and mutually beneficial; both peoples supported one another in the face of marginalization and racism.

The Chinese market gardening history in the Musqueam community is an important historical example of reciprocal relationships between Chinese and First Nations, and the respect many early Chinese migrants showed as guests on First Nations’ territories. The film features siblings Helen Callbreath, Gordon Grant, Larry Grant, and Howard E. Grant, who are elders from the Musqueam Nation with Chinese ancestry. The siblings reflect on their experiences growing up on the Chinese farms at Musqueam and in Vancouver’s Chinatown, and the impact of discriminatory government legislation on their lives. They also visit the ancestral village of their late father, in Guangdong, China, for the first time. The Grants’ father, Hong Tim Hing, left the village of Sei Moon in Guangdong, China in 1920 to Vancouver, BC – the unceded territory of the Musqueam hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking people. He worked on the Lin On Farm at Musqueam Indian Reserve 2, where he met his wife, Agnes Grant.”



Start: November 1, 2016 7:00 pm
End: November 1, 2016 8:30 pm

November 5, 2016

3rd Annual Vancouver Tea Festival

3rd Annual Vancouver Tea Festival
by the Vancouver Tea Society & Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Saturday Nov. 5, 2016  |  10 – 6pm

Ticket admission includes access to:
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – presentations, workshops, tea tastings, tea-leaf readings and tea plant experts
Chinese Cultural Centre Auditorium – tea exhibitors and vendors’ booths


PUBLIC EARLY BIRD Price: $15.95, plus tax (Available until Sept. 30)

REGULAR PUBLIC Price: $18.95, plus tax (Available: Oct. 1 – Nov. 4)

GARDEN MEMBERS Exclusive Price: $15.95, plus tax (Available: Sept. 6 – Nov. 4)

**Children ages 5 and under are free

Did you know that the history of tea dates back to ancient China, almost 5,000 years ago? According to legend, in 2737 B.C. Emperor Shennong discovered tea when leaves from a wild tea tree blew into his pot of boiling water. He was immediately interested in the pleasant scent of the resulting brew. He drank some and found it incredibly refreshing.

To learn more and taste some of the best teas all in one place, join thousands of guests to the Vancouver Tea Festival on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver.

With a fascinating global history and being the most widely consumed beverage in the world – next to water – tea rivals coffee admiration in Vancouver and the West Coast.

The Vancouver Tea Society, in partnership with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, brings this year a bigger, better, more inspiring and fun-filled one-day event full of tasting, learning and unique experiences. It is a chance to meet and experience local and international tea merchants, tea connoisseurs, tea plant specialists, and cultural experts and activities.


Start: November 5, 2016 10:00 am
End: November 5, 2016 6:00 pm

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