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The lovely Barclay Memorial Park

Beside the river whisper the gentle willows. The water lilies are by the side of the tree-lined paths. Summer cicadas ring through the ears. The shimmering light twinkles on the grass at night. As the seasons change, so will the floral colors in the park area. The cosmoses sway in early spring. The brilliant yellow blossoms of the Cassia fistula whirl like golden shower on May. The picturesque paradise is not the Cambridge depicted by the poet, but the Barclay Memorial Park located at Chongming Village in the East Dist. of Tainan City.

The lovely Barclay Memorial Park covers an area of about three hectares, which is petite, sweet and elegant. Situated in Chongming Village in the East Dist. of Tainan City, it is across from the Tainan Municipal Cultural Center. Walking into the park, the phytoncid released by the trees and plants drifts with the wind, and what comes into sight is people reading leisurely the newspaper under the trees or doing tai chi, and small groups of children walking joyfully on the path that can be rated as the most beautiful to school. The bells nearby ring, echoing to the sounds of insects and birds in the park and those from the classrooms, and all play a natural Pastoral Symphony here, which is exactly the tranquil ambiance the Barclay Memorial Park brings to the local citizens.

Small in size, but the Barclay Memorial Park owns abundant ecological resources. When the cosmoses bloom in the spring, the whole park area seems colorfully carpeted. Especially on May, the yellow petals of the Cassia fistula are like golden rain pouring down from the sky, which is just as beautiful as a poem. At night, there are also the twinkling fireflies flashing in the meadow one after another. The birds, including Chinese bulbul, Zosterops japonicus, Streptopelia chinensis, or even the woodpeckers, will surely come to sing and dance in such a delightful park. Meanwhile, hidden behind this charming park are a lot of romantic stories.

Greenery reflecting on the dreamy lake Memories lying in the gentle breeze

But for a good craftsman, no beautiful jade can be carved out from the stone.

But for the residents who love the land, the Barclay Memorial Park would have been merely a piece of dusty and unused dirt!

"I have a dream. I have a dream that one day the forgotten creek will be brought to light. I have a dream. I have a dream that one day my children and the children next door will walk, hand in hand, down the winding trail through the beautiful park, and go to school safely. “- Lee Ren-Ci, chief of Chongming Village.

Let us ride the time machine to explore the history about the establishment of the Barclay Memorial Park. Back to 1993, the area was actually designed to be the Park No.18 and the City government was supposed to carry out the construction project on the same year. However, due to the issues relating to land ownership between the City and the County, the land could not be developed, and the parkland had remained closed since then. It had lacked the management for a decade. The park area was flooded with plants and litter and turned out to be a site for dumping the garbage and construction waste, which the residents would flee as long as walking by. Until 2001, as Lee Ren-Ci, chief of Chongming Village, dreamed about that the forgotten river course could be seen again and that his children could march hand in hand with the neighborhood kids down the winding path through a beautiful park to go to school safely, the cleanup was initiated by the chief and his friends, gradually increasing from three people at first to 57 volunteers, and then more and more residents came to join the chief and work together to realize the dream. They were devoted to, step by step, rebuilding the park. Aside from 70 vehicle trips to dispose of the rubbish and waste, they rebuilt the slopes of the creek course, repaved the walking paths, trimmed and conducted the investigation on the plants and repopulated the fireflies, etc.. Eventually, a park full of lives was born in 2003.

Renamed the Park No.18 the Barclay Memorial Park

Sailing to Formosa for love –Rev. Dr. Thomas Barclay

Dedication Pledge: I will conform to God the shepherd and live by His will.

Rev. Thomas Barclay followed Jesus Christ’s will to come to Formosa from a distant country- Scotland and his devotion to Taiwan is highly admirable. It is also because of his tremendous contribution to Tainan that the City government renamed the Park No.18 the Barclay Memorial Park, bestowing the former more spiritual meanings. Let’s open the pages of history to know about Rev. Dr. Thomas Barclay

Rev. Dr. Thomas Barclay was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1849. He came to Taiwan in 1875 and has serviced in Taiwan for a total of sixty years. He founded the first Western-style college in Taiwan, that is, the Tainan Theological Seminary, translated the Bible from English to Romanized/Taiwanese version, and encouraged the Romanization movement of vernacular or spoken language of Amoy.

Introducing modern printing plate from England, he founded The Taiwan Hu-Sia Church News and published Taiwan's first issue of a newspaper - The Taiwan Church Press. In1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan due to the Qing Dynasty’s defeat in the Sino-Japanese War. As Japanese army attempted to suppress the Taiwan people's resistance and claimed the whole territory, Rev. Dr. Thomas Barclay mediated with General Nogi Maresuke on behalf of the people of Tainan so that all the people in the city were saved from war destruction and bloodshed. He was truly the guarding angel of peace for people in Tainan. His lifelong dedication to missionary work and his contribution to Tainan deserve the remembrance and admiration.(- Excerpt from the explanatory sign at the Barclay Memorial Park)

Winning story - not just being beautiful but also because of love

To create a beautiful park is not difficult, but to build one with love is simply not easy, especially when it used to be a bleak wilderness. However, it becomes sparkling now because of love. The Barclay Memorial Park owns quite a few awards, including the title of "Taiwan Excellent Park" recognized by the Construction and Planning Agency, the Green Building Award 2005 in the urban landscape category from Kaohsiung Judicious Creative Architecture (JCA) Association, the National Golden Award for Architecture 2006, and the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award 2007, known as an Academy Award in the real estate sector, in the category of public construction.