sci-fi in real life: vancouver/lotusland’s worldwide reproduction

robson st
…..look like robson st? it should, because its a direct reproduction of it in the form of a school and resort called the Vancouver Resort in China, “on a lake near Shanghai, complete with its own Coal Harbour, Robson Street and Royal Yacht Club.”

these photos have been fascinating/creeping me out for a while now and today’s discussion about the concept of the utopian city as represented in sci fi like clarke’s novel, with vancouver as an example of the mythical ‘lotus-land’– a place without memory or pain, where all earthly wonders are beautiful and those who eat the lotus walk among us (supposedly)– is uncannily expressed in the descriptions of Vancouver used in this resort’s advertising. it is strange to see one’s city reflected back at oneself, especially when that reflection looks like an unnerving hybrid stuck halfway between reality and facade. it is vancouver’s own “looking-glass self” gone horribly wrong and made almost TOO self-aware.


on the school: “Choosing Sino-Canada High School is an express way to experience the authentic Canadian Education ; one step closer to the University of British Columbia…”

on vancouver: “Vancouver, “the city of heaven” , beaches, lakes, forests, mild climate, people’s first choice for holiday and immigration. Among eastern China , only the Dingshan lake area can provide you with both waterscape and modern city life.”

….has anyone else heard more recent stories about this resort? shit’s crazy!

more info: vancouver sun article

2 thoughts on “sci-fi in real life: vancouver/lotusland’s worldwide reproduction

  1. Rebecca LaMarre

    Speaking of Vancouver being a creepy Sci-Fi worthy city, what about Shangri-La, the largest condo development to grace Robson St.? It totally relates.

    According to Wikipedia:
    “Shangri-La is a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton. Shangri-La has become synonymous with any earthly paradise but particularly a mythical Himalayan utopia—a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. In the novel Lost Horizon, the people who live at Shangri-La are almost immortal, living years beyond the normal lifespan. The word also evokes the imagery of exoticism of the Orient. The story of Shangri-La is based on the concept of Shambhala, a mystical city in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition……
    There are a number of modern Shangri-La pseudo-legends that have developed since 1933 in the wake of the novel and the film made from it. The Nazis had an enthusiasm for Shangri-La, where they hoped to find an ancient master race, similar to the Nordic race, unspoiled by Buddhism. They sent one expedition to Tibet, led by Ernst Schäfer in 1938.”

  2. Matthew Blunderfield

    Thanks Kat – this is really incredible! and odd as well considering how mutable Vancouver’s own identity can be.

    It would be great to bring this article up on Wednesday, and maybe along with a few other simulacrums of place. Vegas is often mentioned when considering manifestations of the hyperreal – having actually grown up there it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about it.

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