Barclay Memorial Park
Barclay Memorial Park (Bākèlǐ Jìniàn Gōngyuán 巴克禮紀念公園)
Tainan’s wetlands don’t begin and end in Sihcao. You can find wetland ecology in many pockets around the city such as the creek that runs along the Tainan Athletic Park and Zhuxi Temple. In Barclay Memorial Park, however, the wetland ecology is finely integrated into garden aesthetics to create a beautiful atmosphere that is both natural and contrived. The best urban parks balance leisure space with nature, and for that Barclay Memorial Park is one of the best parks in the city.
Barclay Memorial Park is named after the Presbyterian missionary, Rev. Thomas Barclay, whose accomplishments I’ve already discussed in a post on the Presbyterian legacy in Tainan. Barclay’s commitment to the city and to Taiwan were honored in 2003 when the newly redesigned Number 18 Park was reopened as Barclay Memorial Park.
The design of this park has won several awards including the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence. Two water features – a large pond and a winding creek – anchor the design for this 3 hectare park. The winding stone pathways and wooden footbridges that take you through the park and over the water beds are woven in amongst a variety of trees that look like they’ve been planted by a painter’s brush. The design creates a peaceful atmosphere that calls on people to enjoy the park as a reflective activity rather than sporting leisure.
Many bird and insect species are attracted to the wetland qualities of the park, making it an outdoor ecology classroom for the elementary school next door. Some claim that there are fireflies floating amongst the trees at night, making it not a bad place for a romantic walk.
Barclay Memorial Park is in the eastern part of the city on Zhonghua East Road across from the Tainan Municipal Culture Center.