The operators of Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden awoke Sunday to find the attraction’s Keefer Street-facing wall marred with a large amount of graffiti.
“Our cultural heritage building and pillar of #YVRChinatown community is once again being under attack,” garden Executive Director Lorraine Lowe tweeted.
“I can’t imagine what damages would incur if it was opened up again.”
The facility shares a block with the Vancouver Chinese Cultural Centre, which was recently the target of racist graffiti, itself.
In 2020, someone defaced the gardens’ outer wall with a variety of messages opposing the government of China, which has no relation to the gardens.
Sunday’s vandals appeared less concerned with politics than promoting themselves, with the messages appearing to be hastily-scrawled efforts to paint their own names.
By phone, one garden official told Global News the gardens have been dealing with an increase in disorder and harassment on and around the gardens’ property, including people urinating and defecating in the entrance way.
Vancouver City Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung said the city’s Historic Chinatown has disproportionately been hurt by the effects of the pandemic, anti-Asian crime and escalating graffiti.
She said the vandalism is just the latest sign of troubling urban “decay,” which includes numerous reports of smashed shop windows in downtown Vancouver.
“It makes me angry. The scale of the vandalism and graffiti is becoming unprecedented. Not just at the Sun Yat-Sen Garden, but in Chinatown as a whole and throughout Vancouver,” she said.
Kirby-Yung said the city has incrementally bumped up graffiti cleanup funding, but argued that vandals have been given the message that their behaviour is tolerated.
“We need a significant and serious cleanup effort. We can’t turn a blind eye as our city continues to decay or people will start to move out of our city core,” she said.
Kirby-Yung said much of the graffiti in Vancouver is done by a small number of individuals, and suggested looking at the City of Victoria, which she said was successful in taking civil action against a prolific graffiti tagger.