A beloved Chinese garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown has become the target of large nuisance graffiti over the weekend, adding up to problems of people littering, urinating and defecating in its entrance.
This is not the first time the garden suffered from vandalism. In December 2020, someone defaced its walls with messages that appear to be directed to the Chinese government, which the garden has no connection to, Global News reported.
“Our cultural heritage building and pillar of #YVRChinatown community is once again being under attack. Grateful for a gated courtyard as I can’t imagine what damages would incur if it was opened up again,” wrote Executive Director Lorraine Lowe.
The garden is already dealing with an increase in disorder and harassment around its property. Lowe said people have been urinating and defecating in their entrance way.
“When our staff arrives at 9 a.m. in the morning, and we have to open our doors at 10 a.m., the waft of smell and the urine – it’s just, I don’t know if it’s targeted, it’s starting to feel like it is over a course of repeated incidents,” Lowe told CTV News. “There’s other places to defecate – whatever – but it just seems to happen all the time where our entrance gate is right on Carrall Street.”
The garden is located in the same block as the Chinese Cultural Centre, which was targeted with racist vandalism in April 2020. The suspect, Yves Castonguay, has been sentenced to 79 days in jail for a total of 240 days, including time he had spent in pre-trial custody.
Vancouver City Councilor Sarah Kirby-Yung condemned the incident on Twitter, calling it “wilful, destructive damage.”
“Scale of this vandalism and graffiti on treasured @vangarden is terrible and knocks the community down when it’s been struggling to rebound from a host of challenges from pandemic to anti-Asian hate,” Kirby-Yung wrote. “This is not subsistence crime. It’s wilful, destructive damage.”
Kirby-Yung also urged people to “constantly report” similar incidents to Vancouver police. The latest graffiti was reported on Sunday morning and cleaned up by early afternoon.
Lowe is encouraging tourists to visit the garden. It is open from Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.