Dr. Sun Yat-Sen memorial approved for Central Park

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen - Wikipedia Commons
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen
— image credit: Wikipedia Commons

A home has been found for a proposed memorial to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen in Burnaby's Central Park.

On Monday, council approved erecting the memorial, to consist of a donated bronze statue of the Chinese revolutionary on a granite base. Burnaby will also provide up-front funding of $40,000. The money and any other costs will eventually be reimbursed by the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Foundation for Peace and Education, which made the original proposal.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen is considered the founding father of the Republic of China. He was a leader in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty of imperial rule and its first president.

The statue was created to commemorate the centennial of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. The foundation plans to celebrate that anniversary by creating 100 bronze statue memorials in cities around the world that have both historic and symbolic connections to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and his travels leading up to the revolution.

While originally proposed by city staff for Civic Square next to the Metrotown library branch, the finance and civic development committee decided the other option in Central Park would be preferable, said committee chair Coun. Dan Johnston.

Civic Square is "a bit crammed and a bit more congested, a lot of activity going on there currently," he said, citing regular events such as exercise classes on the lawn.

Instead, the memorial will now be installed at the main entrance for pedestrians and cyclists entering Central Park from Metrotown, on the west side of Patterson Avenue serving as the terminus to the planned Beresford Art Walk.

That site will have "more open space, more suitable space so more people could go by and enjoy it," Johnston said.

As for Sun Yat-Sen's connection to Burnaby, his birthplace of Zhongshan City, China is a sister city. The city is also named in honour of him as Zhongshan was a name Sun Yat-Sen adopted.

He also made three visits to B.C. in 1897, 1910 and 1911 seeking political and financial support for the revolution, travelling through Burnaby between Vancouver and New Westminster to do so, a city staff report said.

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