A DIGITAL AUDIO THEATRE EXPERIENCE
(EXP)LORE your WORLD. Experience lore.
(exp)lore is a fiction anthology podcast to be enjoyed in the community while social distancing. These site-specific stories take an imaginative dive into the past and future of Calgary’s inner city. Each episode immerses the audience in a rich audio play while they explore the world through a new lens.
Episode 7: Master Oogam's Blessing
by Dale Lee Kwong
A Chinese mystic reveals a fairy tale from across the sea and a story closer to home. Follow twins Miss Yin and Master Yang from China through their home in Calgary’s Chinatown.
CHINATOWN, DOWNTOWN, Calgary SW
This episode is a walking tour. You should start listening to this episode at the Fu Lions in Sien Lok Park in the Chinatown district of downtown Calgary. These are located at the intersection of Riverfront Avenue and 1st Street SW.
HINT: Listen carefully to the instructions. Read along if you have to. Feel free to pause as needed.
WALKING TOUR ROUTE
Note: The walking tour route is completely wheelchair accessible, and has limited seating at most stops.
The starting point is the intersection of Riverfront Avenue and 1st Street, SW. On the north side of the street, stand between the Fu Lions at the park entrance
1 – FU LIONS at SIEN LOK PARK (North side)
From the Fu Lions, turn and face the river. Use the pathway between the Fu Lions to walk toward the river. Your destination is the viewing area with Asian-style red and green railings. You can’t miss it, as you’ll walk straight into them.
2 – VIEWING AREA by BOW RIVER
From the viewing station, turn around from the river and face Sien Lok Park. Take the stairs between the benches to the sculpture up ahead. In the podcast it’s referred to as The Dragon and Phoenix sculpture. A dedication plaque and benches face the sculpture which is officially called “The Wall of Names”.
3 – THE WALL OF NAMES
From the sculpture, turn away from the river, and take the curvy path toward downtown. When you come to the pedestrian roundabout, take a left and follow it to the semi-circle of benches and granite marker. This is the entrance area to the 15-ton granite sculpture in the centre of Sien Lok Park.
4 – IN SEARCH OF GOLD MOUNTAIN - entrance
From the entrance area, turn back towards the river ahead to the sculpture and surrounding area. This is “In Search of Gold Mountain” by artist Chu Honsun.
5 – IN SEARCH OF GOLD MOUNTAIN - sculpture
To get to the next stop, face the river. Look toward your right until you see history boards. Walk to this location, these board commemorate The Centre Street Bridge Centennial.
6 – BILLBOARDS for CENTRE STREET BRIDGE
From the Centre Street Centennial boards, please head toward the Centre Street Bridge. Just below the lion you’ll see a zigzag ramp between the evergreens. Use it to get to the bridge, and walk towards the intersection of Centre Street and 2nd Avenue. Do not cross the street. Instead look for your destination, the Brick Gate on the NW corner of the intersection.
7 – BRICK GATE of CHINATOWN
From the Brick Gate, the story continues on the south side of Sien Lok Park. To get there… turn away from the brick gate and face the river again. Walk down the path beside the red railing, and turn left when you come to the building. Look for the Fu Lions on the west-facing side of The Calgary Chinatown Seniors Centre. Feel free to climb the stairs for an overview of the Park. Wander west through the park to the next stop.
8 – SIEN LOK PARK (South side)
The next destination is Wai Kwan Manor. You can get there by starting on SE corner opposite the Fu Lions where our tour began on Riverfront Ave. Walk straight (south) along 1st Street, to 2nd Avenue. Wai Kwan Manor is the 15-storey building on the SE corner of the intersection.
9 – WAI KWAN MANOR
From Wai Kwan Manor, imagine you are travelling through a worm hole. The future lies about halfway down the block on 2nd Avenue. Walk toward Centre Street until you are across the street from the Chinese United Church. Stop at the taxi zone, its before the fire hydrant. If you need to sit, be careful as you cross the street to benches in front of the Church. Check out the commemorative plaques while you’re there.
10 – TAXI ZONE across from CHINESE UNITED CHURCH
The last stop is a large, empty parking lot. It is the last large parcel of land to be developed in Chinatown. Take a photo of the mural before it’s gone. There’s a robot drinking bubble tea in the middle.
If you'd like to know more about Calgary's Chinatown or how you can support, you can find out more:
Calgary Chinatown - https://www.visitcalgarychinatown.com/
City of Calgary, Tomorrow’s Chinatown project - https://engage.calgary.ca/tomorrows-chinatown
Sien Lok Society of Calgary - https://www.sienlok.org
Note: The poem “On the Benches at Sien Lok Park” is published in “The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual” House of Blue Skies, 2014. Available from your favourite independent bookstore.
Dale Lee Kwong
Andrew G. Cooper
Production and Technical Director