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Canada's New Face in S. Korea:
Canada Opens New Embassy in Jeong-dong
New Canadian Amb. Ted Lipman in Charge of 2 Koreas
New Canadian Ambassador to Seoul Ted Lipman

Seoul, Korea, November 2007 — Canada will officially unveil a new embassy in Seoul on Nov. 9, 2007 renewing its presence after over 44 years of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea. The new chancery will serve as a symbol of Canada's strong commitment to deepening its important bilateral ties on the Korean Peninsula.

Located in the historic Jeong-dong area of Seoul, Canada's new embassy reflects the many interests and values that Canadians and Koreans share, including a passion for the environment and an appreciation of the unique culture found in both countries.

"The opening of the embassy marks a new chapter in the history of Canada-Korea relations," said Canadian Ambassador to Seoul Ted Lipman, who arrived in Seoul in July 2007 and is accredited to both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "Canada and Korea have enjoyed dynamic and friendly relations for many decades, and the new chancery will give added impetus to our commitment to this important relationship."

To celebrate the official opening, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2007. A senior delegation from Canada will attend, led by the Honourable Deepak Obhrai, Member of Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Len Edwards, a former Canadian Ambassador to Korea. Vice Minister Cho Jung-pyo of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will represent the Republic of Korea.

"Of great pride to Canada is the 520-year-old pagoda tree, a municipal monument, which stands next to our front entrance," Amb. Lipman added. "This ancient tree inspired the joint Canadian and Korean architecture team to use nature as its design theme. The building, which curves around the tree, signifies a desire for unity between old and new."

The embassy has invited 150 representatives of local community groups to participate in the opening ceremony. After the ribbon-cutting, Amb. Lipman will distribute "housewarming dduk (cake)" to the guests. An evening reception will also be held on Nov. 9, 2007 for representatives of the Korean government, private sector, academia and diplomatic community. A renowned Canadian folk & rock artist, Kathleen Edwards, will perform during the evening's festivities.

Who Is New Canadian Amb. Ted Lipman?

The new Canadian Ambassador to Seoul Ted Lipman was born in Brazil in 1953 and grew up in Rio de Janeiro, the U.K. and Vancouver. He arrived in Seoul in July 2007 and is accredited to both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

He was educated at the University of British Columbia (Asian Studies) as well as Peking University (modern Chinese History).

Amb. Ted Lipman joined the Canadian Department of External Affairs in 1976 and his first assignment in Asia was to the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, 1977-80. Since then he has had a variety of assignments in China, including serving as Canada's first Trade Commissioner in South China (82-85), Canadian Consul General in Shanghai (95-99) and Minister, Canadian Embassy, Beijing (99-01).

He has also served in the United States on three occasions; UN General Assembly, Consul and Trade Commissioner, New York City and Canadian Consul in Pittsburgh. Ted Lipman's most recent assignment abroad was as Executive Director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (2001-2004).

At the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade headquarters, Ted Lipman has served as Special Projects Liaison, Corporate Planning Division; Deputy Director, East Asia Trade Division; and most recently, as Director General, North Asia Bureau. During the year prior to his current assignment, he served as diplomat-in-residence at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

Amb. Ted Lipman is currently the Canadian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Canadian Embassy in Jeong-dong

Project Milestones

November 29, 1994
The Government of Canada purchases a property located at 16-1 Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul.

July 18, 2002
The Government of Canada submits a building permit application for the embassy project.

Groundbreaking occurs.

2003 - 2007
Construction of the embassy is undertaken.

November 9, 2007
Canada's new chancery opens its doors.

Canada's plan to protect an ancient Korean treasure

Of great pride to the Canadian Embassy is the 520-year-old pagoda tree located next to the front entrance (City Tree seo#2-3). This deciduous broadleaf arbour is 17 metres tall and has a diameter of 5.16 metres.

Developing a protection plan for the 520-year-old tree was critical to the success of the chancery project. The plan, developed with the assistance of two Korean experts, covered all stages of implementation. This included the building massing, which was designed around the root ball; an excavation during the tree's dormant period; electronic monitoring; and enhancements to the physical environment of the tree. Damaged bark was treated through a number of surgical operations, supports were put in place to prevent the bending and breaking of branches, and the dry well was enlarged and improved.

Today, new leaves are sprouting on the tree, and we are pleased that experts have deemed the tree to be in good health. We hope that this tree will continue to grow as the relationship between Canada and Korea continues to flourish.

An aesthetic design of the chancery

The design of the Canadian embassy expresses a reverence for nature that Koreans and Canadians share.

The building, composed of two blocks tied together by a base, is framed by an historic 520-year-old tree. The massing and skin of the building are inspired by impressionist images of the Canadian landscape. The west block is the mountain, a majestic and simple form in the tradition of Lawren S. Harris, and presents a strong solid background for the tree plaza. The east block with its vertical elements symbolizes a forest of birch bark trunks and creates a natural rhythm against the sky, an image inspired by Canadian impressionist Tom Thomson. The design, building materials, patterns and massing all embody a connection between the building's Korean context and the rugged Canadian landscape.

The main entrance area to the embassy has become a focal gathering place, with its broad, open walkway, sparkling water fountain and curving black granite benches. The plaza was designed around the ancient tree, a local Korean treasure to which visitors are drawn to marvel at its beauty. The plaza offers a warm embrace in the spirit of the strong partnership between Korea and Canada.

The new Embassy was designed by the Toronto architectural firm Zeidler Partnership. Zeidler has been recognized by its peers with over 100 national and international awards. These accolades include five Governor General's Medals for Architecture, four Massey Medals for Outstanding Canadian Architecture, the American Society of Interior Designers International Award and the Progressive Architecture Design Award. Zeidler's extensive portfolio includes Canada Place in Vancouver, Columbus Center of Marine Research and Exploration in Baltimore, and the Atrium of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Introduction to the chancery facilities

The welcoming atmosphere of the embassy building is reflective of the warm and positive relationship that exists between Canada and Korea. The 9,150 m2 Canadian Diplomatic Complex, which launched its operations in July 2007, includes staff quarters, offices and reception facilities. Located in Jeong-dong, the embassy is close to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, other government offices, and a number of historic sites. The 520-year-old tree, a treasure located five metres from the property line, is the focal point of the embassy design.

Stones from the battlefield in Gapyeong

In early August 1952, the First Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment was deployed to defend Hill 355, near Gapyeong. Hill 355, or Kowang San, was also known by the troops as "Little Gibraltar" due to its massive size and distinct shape. Over the course of three months fighting on Hill 355, the Canadians would suffer over 200 casualties, including 41 valiant soldiers killed in action. Many of these heroes are now interred in the UN Cemetery in Busan alongside compatriots who gave their lives in battles elsewhere on the Korean peninsula.

The new chancery honours the Canadian soldiers who fought in the Korean War with a memorial that allows Embassy visitors an opportunity to take a quiet moment to reflect upon the sacrifices made by Canadians in Korea over half a century ago.

The rock that makes up the centerpiece of this memorial was quarried from the battlefield of Hill 355.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Media Relations Office
Canadian Embassy in Korea






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