Upcoming Events

October 2, 2015

Impressions of China

Art exhibition showcasing
China’s cultural wonders via photography

Exhibition: Oct 2 - Dec 10, 2015

Opening Reception
Sunday Oct 4 from 2-4pm
Some featured artists in attendance; Ray Pfortner presentation about the cultural experience in China as a delegation of North American artists
RSVP to attend: education@vancouverchinesegarden.com

The exhibition that has been shown at two Pacific Northwest Chinese gardens this spring and summer is coming to Vancouver this fall and showcases China’s cultural wonders via photography.

It features the work of 15 U.S. artists from five different states, led by photographer Ray Pfortner and Nancy Wing. The delegation visited China’s cultural wonders as part of a photography and other media cultural exchange in early 2014 as part of the Washington State’s WTE Professional & Cultural Exchange program. Locations and sites explored included five UNESCO World Heritage Sites like classical Chinese scholar’s gardens, the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace and many other sites from Shanghai to Suzhou and Hangzhou to Beijing.

In addition to visiting and photographing China’s cultural wonders during the exchange, the delegation also toured well-known Chinese art galleries, held formal meetings with China’s premier stock photography agency and met with Xi Zhinong, China’s foremost wildlife photographer.

On the exchange, the 15 U.S. artists captured more than 100,000 photographs, which have been distilled to the top 30 images as selected by the exhibition jury to be on display in the gardens.


Photo above © Dawn Nelson

Photo above © Susan Johnston

Start: October 2, 2015 10:00 am
End: December 10, 2015 4:30 pm

December 12, 2015

“A Tree Grows in Chinatown” by Vanessa Lowe

 ”A Tree Grows in Chinatown” by Vanessa Lowe

As part of the Garden’s mandate to support local artists, the Garden presents Downtown East Side artist Vanessa Lowe’s “A Tree Grows in Chinatown” exhibition.

Exhibition: Dec. 12, 2015 – Jan. 10, 2016
Exhibition Opening: Dec. 12 from 2-4pm

“A Tree Grows in Chinatown” is about the early life of Vanessa’s mother who passed away in mid-August. Using family photos of her mother’s early life, memories and texts, Vanessa has created this exhibition as a tribute to her mother.
Vanessa’s family roots are firmly in East Vancouver – her forebears came from China but both of her parents were born in BC.  She spent her early childhood around East Hastings and consequently, all of her early memories are of East Hastings, Chinatown, and the area around Chinatown, now known as the Downtown Eastside.
Vanessa is well-known for the Crow Highway mural in which she was able to honouor her mother and all the mothers before her. She says: “Ancestors: I have lots, and I’m willing to share them with the rest of the community. I’ve been told it (this mural) is now an L1 portal in the Android game Ingress. If you want to see it IRL, it’s at the southwest corner of Hastings and Jackson in Vancouver. The work can be seen on the blog, thiscassandra.com.


Start: December 12, 2015 10:00 am
End: January 10, 2016 4:30 pm

December 21, 2015

The 22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival

The 22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden produced in partnership with the Secret Lantern Society transforms the Garden into a magical place on December 21st, from 6 pm – 10 pm with hundreds of hand-made lanterns, live music, shadow puppets and hot aromatic tea. It’s a perfect place to bring the family and even have a date!

Monday Dec. 21, 2015 from 6pm-10pm 
General $10 | Couple $15 | Family $20 (2 adults + 2 children 17 and under)
Garden Members $6

Start the Chinese winter solstice, dong zhi, celebration by participating in a lantern-making workshop at the Strathcona Community Centre, and join in the procession through the streets of Strathcona from 6pm – 6:20pm. Then follow the drums of African Crossing to a dream-like evening at the Garden, where Secret Lantern Society artists have created a unique and delightful environment of beauty and warmth to celebrate the longest night of the year.

Enjoy hundreds of whimsical animal lanterns throughout the Garden and immerse yourself in The Conference Of The Birds where beautiful bird lanterns have come to roost. Participate in nature-inspired shadow puppetry with the Lost and Found Puppet Company or add your own dash of creativity to the 6th Annual Community Lantern hosted by the Community Arts Council in the Garden’s China Maple Hall.

Create your own beautiful solstice headdress using organic materials such as leaves and dried flowers or release a lovely Lotus Lantern into the pond and let it carry your illuminated wishes into the night ($5/activity).

Treat yourself to tea and participate in a tea ceremony while listening to featured performers including the wild drums of African Crossing, the powerful First Nations songs and drums of Audrey Siegl (Musqueam) and Victor Thompson (Haida), atmospheric jazz of the Saul Berson Duo, and the lively Balkan traditions of Zeellia.


The annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival was created by the Secret Lantern Society in 1993 in honour of the sun’s return. This community celebration incorporates musical and artistic traditions from numerous cultures around the world.

For the Chinese and throughout East Asia, the winter solstice celebration (the Dongzhi Festival, literally: “the extreme of Winter”), is one of the most important festivals. Traditionally, it’s a time for the family to get together and celebrate with specially prepared food, particularly the making and eating of tangyuan (湯圓) or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion. The celebration marks the beginning of the return of the sun and the shifting of the energies yin to yang in the cosmological balance.  Families gather to honour their ancestors and to eat warm and rich foods.
Regardless of your origin, come and join us in the Garden with your families, friends, dates or neighbours and bring light to the winter!


The 22nd Annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival is an annual one-day multi-venue festival presented by the Secret Lantern Society in partnership with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Chinatown.To find out more about the other venues (False Creek Community Centre and Performance Works on Granville Island, and the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Yaletown, please visit www.secretlantern.org.


Winter Solstice Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Winter Solstice Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden


Start: December 21, 2015 6:00 pm
End: December 21, 2015 10:00 pm

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