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Arbor’s Chinese Gardens: Honouring the Community’s Culture and Values

By Emma Givens, Guest Blogger

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At Arbor Memorial, our connection with Chinese Canadian communities runs deep. We take pride in this bond whether it be through strong representation of Chinese Canadians in our workforce, or by creating final resting places that honour the culture and values of our families.

For more than a decade, we have been building Chinese Gardens at Arbor cemeteries across Canada. Step one is  to try and engage with the local Chinese community. Each garden honours universal principles in Chinese culture, while also celebrating the rich diversity of its religions, languages, and individual families. Every Chinese Garden is unique, reflecting the desires and personality of the local community while bringing out the best qualities of the landscape.

Often, the next step is to engage a certified Feng Shui master to choose the right location on our property. Arbor has fostered this collaborative relationship for many  years as we strive to give families the ideal resting place. Regardless of the garden’s size, we try to design according to Feng Shui’s universal principles:

 High Ground

Arbor’s Chinese Gardens are typically located on the highest grounds available in the cemetery. Along with symbolic meaning, high ground ensures that rain water drains away from each monument to keep the ground clean and dry.

Sunlight

The design team tries to maximize sunlight.  Memorials most often face south in our Chinese Gardens so that your loved one’s place of rest has lots of sun. We also carefully place any trees in the garden around its perimeter so that shadows fall away from the monuments.

Views of the Mountains

Whenever possible, especially at Arbor’s B.C. and Alberta locations, the garden is laid out so that we optimize views of the mountains. Many families cherish having a strong, tall mountain supporting their loved in the cemetery below.

 Organic Energy Flow

It’s very important that positive energy flows freely throughout the garden, so the design features organic, curving pathways.  Any negative energy must be directed away from the resting grounds of our families. Positive energy is always fostered and protected in our Chinese Gardens.

Meaningful Details

Arbor Memorial’s garden designers do extensive research and consult with the local community to add special, symbolic details to the Chinese Gardens. Symbols of luck and positivity are often incorporated at strategic points, and include pagodas, moon gates, lotus flowers and dragons. Fu lions, protectors from negative energy, are often poised at the entry gate of the garden.

The most important feature of our Chinese Gardens is that we provide families with so much choice when making final arrangements for themselves and their loved ones.

Your family may prefer cremation. We offer traditional memorial products, like those available in China, as well as popular modern options such as placing the urns in an indoor or outdoor columbarium.

Many families value the opportunity to select a preferred location in our Chinese Gardens. Your family may prefer a crypt, indoor mausoleum, or even a family estate. After all, this is an important place where loved ones will gather for generations to come.

 To learn more about Arbor Memorial’s Chinese Gardens, please visit our dedicated Chinese website to see photos of the properties and Ching Ming events.

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