Chinese community to donate pagoda to Saskatoon

Members of Saskatoon's Chinese community are excited to build their Zhongshan Ting.

Chinese culture to be commemorated with traditional Zhongshan Ting

Saskatoon's Chinese community wants to give a large, traditional gift to the city.

Saskatoon's Zhongshan Ting Committee plans to will build a new gazebo in Victoria Park worth more than $120,000. 

In the Chinese culture, a zhongshan ting is a communal place of worship and fellowship. In English, it's known as a pagoda. The structure looks similar to a North American-style gazebo.

The Chinese symbol for zhongshan ting resembles the structure it represents. (Courtesy Wey Lee)

For the past two years, Wey Lee and two partners from Saskatoon, Enwu Liu and Dawn Zhou, have been working on their proposal to donate a zhongshan ting to the city. 

Lee has lived in Saskatoon since 1981. He said he hopes the project makes people curious about Chinese culture.

"With the growing Chinese population in Saskatoon, we found that we would have [the need for] something permanent in Saskatoon, to commemorate our early Chinese immigration," Lee said.

Originally, the proposed ting was overseen by Saskatoon's Chinese Cultural Society. When the group became inactive two years ago, Lee and his partners stepped up to complete the project.

Lee smiled, as he stood in the spot where the zhongshan ting will be built in Victoria Park. He said he imagines the ting will be a place for gatherings like Weddings, Tai Chi classes and school field trips. 

"I think the most [important thing] is that the ting would [be] a symbol of the Chinese who have made their home in Saskatoon for more than a century," Lee said.   

Saskatoon's city councillors will officially vote to accept the gift from the Chinese community at their meeting Monday.

After its officially approved, Lee and his partners plan to travel to Shanghai, China, to consult with an architect over the pagoda's design. The pagoda will be surrounded by a large cement patio and floral garden.

Lee and his partners hope it will be ready by 2015. He said it will be a familiar landmark for Chinese immigrants in Saskatoon.

"[The ting will be] a symbol," he said. "When you see [it] you will think of your homeland. It is so familiar, you have seen that so many times before you came to Canada. So, it is kind of like, it will look like home."

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