Winding covered walkways, ancient limestone formations and 150-year-old miniature trees aren't often expected in the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown, but the Dr Sun Ya-Sen Classical Chinese Garden serves as a tranquil break from the bustle of the city. The first classical Chinese garden in Canada, the site was created by master craftsmen from China using 14th-century methods: no screws, no glue, no power tools.
Wandering the paths and pavilions, travelers will notice how dark pebbles are placed next to light ones, how swaying bamboo grows around immovable rocks and the way in which soft-moving water flows across solid stone. Each item was placed "just so," with a considered purpose to create balance and harmony.
Summertime visitors get an added bonus: Every Friday night from mid-July through the first weekend in September, the garden hosts an eclectic repertoire of musical and dance performances that includes classical, Asian, world, Gypsy jazz, Slavic soul and fusion.
Insider's Tip: Because parking in Chinatown can be tricky, tours with included transportation from area hotels offer an easy solution.
The Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is easily accessible via public transportation, and it’s only a few blocks away from Gastown, downtown Vancouver and the heart of Chinatown. The wheelchair-accessible garden offers free guided tours, traditional Chinese tea and a family-friendly scavenger hunt for children.