Historic Grand Canal Trailwalker Rally marks dawn of New Year

As a window closed on 2017 and a door opened on 2018, the (Hangzhou) Trailwalker Rally kicked off the dawn of a brand new year by the Grand Canal.

As a window closed on 2017 and a door opened on 2018, the Hangzhou Trailwalker Rally kicked off the dawn of a brand-new year by the Grand Canal.

The event, co-organized by Hangzhou government and the Grand Canal Group, as part of the city’s celebration for the New Year, saw representatives from several different industries join the rally, with tourists and residents. The race began at the West Lake Cultural Square and finished at the Grand Canal World Square and was 6.8 kilometers in length.

Being the longest artificial river in China, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal has connected the north and south for over 1,200 years and, in 2014, was included in the World Heritage List.

The city government has also invested a great deal in preserving the cultural aspects of the canal. Historical sites such as the Fuyi Granary and Gongchen Bridge have been transformed into cultural and creative hubs. Green belts, parks and footpaths have been built along both sides of the canal, while there are eight waterbus routes running on the canal day and night.

Shanghai Daily lists below some of the highlights that you cannot miss for a visit along the canal.

Fuyi Granary

Built at the intersection of the Shengli River and the Grand Canal, the Fuyi Granary used to be a major public granary during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in areas south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. 

Cafes, tea houses, handicraft workshops and creative industry companies have settled in the original 13 wood structure buildings. And the courtyard between the buildings are used as an outdoor venue for enjoying theater shows including performances of Yueju Opera.

Address: 8 Xiawan Lane

Xiangji Temple

Xiangji Temple

A few hundred meters away from the granary is the Xiangji Temple, an important Buddhist site along the Grand Canal. It enshrines Kinnara — the god of kitchen.

Historically the temple was burnt and rebuilt several times. The present one was restored in 2009. But there is still one Qing Dynasty stone pagoda remaining at the temple.

The temple is even more enchanting at night when the bronze roof, facade and pillars are highlighted by lights.

Address: 1 Xiangjisi Lane

Gongchen Bridge

Gongchen Bridge

Standing at the north side of the city, the Gongchen Bridge has long been viewed as the physical end of the Grand Canal. 

As the largest remaining archaic bridge in Hangzhou, it is 98 meters long and built in 1888. 

The west side of the bridge is preserved as the Qiaoxi (west of the bridge) Historic Neighborhood, which is open free to visitors with its factory-turned museum blocks and distinctive shops and restaurants.

Address: 1 Qiaolong St

Thirteen of the city’s most notable ambassadors who joined the New Year’s trailwalk rally

He Shuifa, renowned ink-wash painter, director of China Artists Association and Xiling Seal Art Society in Hangzhou

Meng Guanliang, Olympic gold medalist in canoeing, a member of the standing committee and deputy mayor of Jiande City

Gao Fagen, renowned calligrapher, former vice president of China Academy of Art in Hangzhou

Zhou Xuejun, chairman of Hangzhou Yaoshengji Food Co Ltd

Du Gaojie, renowned ink-wash painter, professor of Zhejiang University and member of Xiling Seal Art Society in Hangzhou

Gao Dekang, chairman and president of DE&E Shareholding Group

Tim Clancy, representative ambassador of “Most beautiful Zhejiang People,” pioneering volunteer at G20 Summit

Zheng Yijiong, traffic police officer at tactical unit who patrol around the city every day, named online as “the most beautiful woman traffic officer” 

Shen Xinghang, gynecologist at Hangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, who saved a woman’s life while she was traveling in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in October

Janne Bakker, Amsterdam’s cultural ambassador of Hangzhou, messenger of international non-governmental exchange at Hangzhou International Exchange Center

The others include:

Cai Dasheng, renowned singer who performs at the Swedish Theater, Norwegian National Opera House and Gothenburg Opera House, cultural adviser to Hangzhou City government

Cao Liyun, primary school teacher who was awarded the “Moral Model” of Hangzhou in 2016

Lai Weizhen, blood donor for 20 years, awarded the “Moral Model” of Gongshu District in 2016  

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