Ottawa is not just getting any old gateway for its Chinatown.
It’s getting a top-of-the-line, royal-style archway with nine roofs covered in golden glazed porcelain tiles.
“That represents the highest grade in China,” said Barry Li, the site engineer for the Beijing company responsible for designing and building the gateway. “The yellow colour used to be used by the Emperor only.”
On Thursday, the groundbreaking ceremony for the gateway took place at the intersection of Somerset and Cambridge streets. The project is expected to be completed by October.
While he was in Beijing earlier this month, Mayor Larry O’Brien saw an example of the archway that will be built in Ottawa and met with the artisans who will be crafting it.
“It was spectacular. I think people in Ottawa will be truly amazed,” said O’Brien. “It’s going to be one of the must-see spots in the city.”
Lan Lijun, the Chinese Ambassador to Canada, called the gateway a precious gift to mark the 40th anniversary of Chinese/Canadian diplomatic relations, which is this year.
“In a few months time, when we greet the golden season of October, an architecture of distinct Chinese royal style will rise in Ottawa,” he said. “Let us all look forward to that day and wish the Gateway Project great success.”
“This is an exciting project for both the Chinese community and the city of Ottawa,” said Yasir Naqvi, the member of provincial parliament for Ottawa Centre. “The gateway will serve as an important symbol of Chinese culture and history, celebrating our diversity, and recognizing the contributions made by the Chinese community in Ottawa.”??