Michael Chang is one of the people who has been raising money for a memorial garden to surround the Battle of Kapyong Memorial Stone. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Michael Chang is one of the people who has been raising money for a memorial garden to surround the Battle of Kapyong Memorial Stone. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Funds sought for Korean memorial garden at Langley arboretum

The project could be built as early as this year

Members of the Korean-Canadian community and the Arboretum & Botanical Society of Langley (ABSL) are raising funds for a Korean memorial garden to complement a war memorial that was erected several years ago.

The stone was installed in 2019 and commemorates the Battle of Kapyong, a site now known as Gapyeong, in South Korea.

The marker is a memorial for the Battle of Kapyong in April 1951, where Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand troops blocked an advance towards South Korean capital Seoul by a full division of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army.

Since the installation, there have been several memorial events held at the stone around the anniversary of the battle. The Korean county of Gapyeong also donated masks to Langley in 2020 as a gesture of friendship in honour of the memorial.

The ABSL is now trying to raise about $20,000 for a garden to go with the stone, with the hope that construction of it can begin this year.

“We’ll be raising cash here, there, and everywhere,” said Les Clay, president of the ABSL.

READ ALSO: Langley battle memorial marks 70 years since pivotal clash in Korean War

The project has been underway for about a year, and sketches can be found at the ABSL’s website at abslangley.ca.

Korean red pines and a persimmon tree have already been planted, flanking the stone, but a raingarden, a reflecting pool, and more dense mounted plantings on either side of the memorial are yet to come, and will require a lot more work.

Clay said volunteer labour is expected to be used for some of the work, which will help reduce costs.

Also raising money for the project is Michael Chang, a Korean-Canadian businessman who has been involved with the memorial commemorations and with the Gapyeong mask donations.

“I’ve already raised about $6,000 from the Korean community,” he said.

Groups like Korean War veterans associations are expected to contribute as well, with some funding coming from Langley Township, Chang said.

Talk about a garden went back to before the pandemic, not long after the ston was installed, Chang said.

He got a call about six months ago from the Township design team about moving forward on the project.

Chang said he hopes construction can start this spring or summer, and perhaps be finished as early as Remembrance Day this year.

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