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A sweet glimpse of Taiwan’s history in Wanhua

By Eva Tang
Staff reporter

This heating facility is displayed in Building A of the park. (Photos by Eva Tang)If you’ve ever wondered how sugar is made, plan a visit to the newly-opened Sugar Industry Cultural Park in Taipei’s Wanhua area. The Taiwan Sugar Corporation (TSC) Taipei warehouse was witness to the rise - and fall - of the sugar industry in northern Taiwan.

The warehouse was built as a sugar manufacturing factory in 1908 during the Japanese Occupation. It ceased operation almost four decades later and became a warehouse for the state-run TSC. Now the warehouse is open to the public as a place where visitors can learn about Taiwan’s once-flourishing sugar industry.

There are three buildings at the site. Building A shows the history and development of Taiwan's sugar industry, including a wall of milestones over the years, some antique manufacturing machines such as an evaporation can and a heating facility, and a collection of old documents related to making sugar. Video clips showing valuable images of the warehouse are also on display.

Building C now serves as the Taiwanese opera troupe Min Hwa Yuan’s offices and a showroom for costumes and stage properties. Performances by Min Hwa Yuan also livened up the atmosphere during opening day festivities on November 20.

As for Building B, it is now a rehearsal site for Min Hwa Yuan. It accommodates audiences of around 100-150 people and is open to other artistic groups for rehearsal as well. The 81-year-old Taiwanese opera troupe has gained international acclaim for helping to preserve the grass roots culture of Taiwan.

Photos documenting Min Hwa Yuan performances are shown in Building C. (Photos by Eva Tang)To attract more visitors, a variety of classes on literature, film, photography, drama and contemporary art provided by Wanhua Community College are available free of charge for all comers on Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons, from now through January 7, 2011. Call (02) 2306-4267 for more information.