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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Artisans from China

The Chinatown Royal Arch is being built by a combination of Canadian contractors (Delcan, Tomlinson) and Chinese contractors employed by the Beijing Historical Relic and Construction Company (and no, Jim Watson is not their boss).

About 20 artisans are in Canada now. They are the concrete guys, busy casting the decorative elements and eventually the main beam that crosses Somerset Street. They are housed in several rented buildings near the site - appropriately above a chinese restaurant and in the old Bert's Bike repair house. They brought their own cook with them from China. Local restuarants in Chinatown have shown hospitality to the workers and are helping their cook acquire supplies the Canadian way.

On Sunday, someone donated 10 fresh caught fish to the workers, and it made their mid-day dinner on Monday.

The concrete workers will be here til mid-June, when all the casting is done and the arch installed over the street. Crews will be working seven days a week, then they will return to China. The workers do get time off - on Sunday past they had a tour of Parliament Hill and the downtown.

In June, crews of painting artisans will arrive to give the arch 17 coats of paint, including some gold paint.

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