The Takata family at the original Japanese Tea Garden in Esquimalt Gorge Park

Japanese tea garden was a sight to behold

The original tea garden in Esquimalt was established in 1907 by Hayato Takata and Yoshitaro Kishida

By Greg Evans, Municipal archivist

The original Japanese Tea Garden in Esquimalt Gorge Park was established in 1907 by Hayato Takata and Yoshitaro Kishida with the co-operation of the B.C. Electric Railway Company, the property owners.

Joe’s father, Isaburo Kishida, a professional gardener from Yokohama, Japan, designed the Japanese-style tea garden complete with tea house. He also designed Japanese Gardens for the Butchart family and for the Dunsmuir family at Hatley Park.

Kishida imported plantings and dwarfed trees from Japan for the one-acre site. The garden featured Japanese-style bridges, an ornamental stream, stone lanterns, porcelain figures and of course an authentic tea house, built and decorated with materials imported from Japan – it soon became famous for its brunch and afternoon tea.

By the mid- 1920s, fewer visitors were coming to the garden, due largely to the advent of the automobile and the ability of people to travel farther seeking entertainment. In 1924, Joe Kishida returned to Japan after selling his interest in the garden to Kensuki Takata who along with his brother continued to operate the business.

In 1920, Toyo Takata was born in the family residence adjacent to the tea garden. Toyo, who attended Lampson Street School and Esquimalt High, also worked at the garden. He was the cashier at the candy counter in a setting he fondly described as “near paradise.”

In 1942, during the Second World War, the garden closed. The Takata family was interned and re-located to the Slocan. With their departure, the garden fell victim to neglect and vandalism, the buildings torn down as potential “fire hazards.” After the war, the family settled in Toronto.

Toyo made many trips back to Esquimalt to share his story and that of the Takata Garden with individuals and organizations such as the Takata Japanese Garden Society. In 2009 an official re-opening ceremony took place in Gorge Park, with features reflecting the original garden.

Sadly, Toyo had passed away in 2002 but his belief in friendship bridging cultural differences remains in evidence as the garden is revitalized.

•••

Greg Evans is the Township of Esquimalt’s municipal archivist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Deep Cove man running 50 km every month through his 50th birthday year

Ultrarunner hopes Deep 50 Challenge will raise $5,000 for Help Fill A Dream

Oak Bay to host secondary suite open house on Thursday

Online secondary suite survey will run April 25 until May 10

Local author wins gold medal for new book Fat Cats

Former parks warden’s series welcomes new addition to the canon

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Saanich rental project wins silver by going ‘green’

The Verve rental housing project stands at the corner of Boleskine Road and Whittier Avenue

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Most Read