Mayor David Miller was joined by Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto- Danforth); Madame Zhu Taoying, Consul General of China; Dale Cheung, President Chinese Chamber of Commerce (Toronto East); Mr. Ron Tsin, Board Chair, Toronto Parking Authority; members of the Zhong Hua Men Archway Organizing Committee, 13 lion dancers and a dragon dancer to officially open the Zhong Hua Men Archway, a gateway to the East China Town commercial area.
The arch itself stands almost 13 metres high and is covered with engraved messages of goodwill and wisdom is consistent with Paifang, the tradition of constructing arches to commemorate the great achievements of ones ancestors. In this case the archway pays tribute to the collective ancestors, the Chinese workers who were instrumental in building the railways that brought Canada together as a country.
Zhong Hua Men, literally translated as China Arch, also symbolizes the importance of Chinese history, culture and business success in Toronto and Canada.
The Zhong Hua Men Archway is based on the traditional “gateway” structures in China and is also a structure that is one of the fundamental building blocks of Western architecture. Arches are used in the construction of bridges, including the railway bridges that connected one side of the country with the other and made it possible for many immigrants to find their way to Toronto. The Bloor viaduct is a series of arches that connect the area east of the Don with the Downtown.
“I congratulate the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for choosing an arch as their gift to Torontonians,” said Mayor Miller. “This arch welcomes people to the East China Town commercial area, honours the Chinese Canadians who worked so valiantly to help build our country and our city and symbolizes a connection with Chinese people in other parts of the world. There is no other architectural element that is so intrinsic to both cultures or more aptly symbolizes the blending of Chinese and Canadian, traditions.”
The Zhong Hua Men Archway is a joint project of the City of Toronto and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce (Toronto East). The Toronto Parking Authority provided the land and construction management of the archway. The Sheppard Group, Concord Adex, Shenglin Finance, St. Mary’s Cement, Scotiabank, Bridgepoint Health, the Goldman Group, Mr. Frank Chau, the Canadian Chinese General Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Milikin Realty and the City’s Clean and Beautiful Initiative all made generous contributions to the project. The people of China, through the Chinese Consulate in Toronto, contributed the two lion statues at the entrance to the archway.
As the City Councillor for Ward 30 it has been a great honour to work side by side and support the many dedicated community members who have come together to make this project a success,” said Councillor Fletcher.
Following the official remarks and ribbon cutting, a celebratory event was held in Riverdale Park. Chinese food vendors serving various tasty treats, lion dances, students singing and dancing, Chinese opera, a Kung Fu show and a lucky draw were all part of the festivities.
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