Toowoomba’s CBD has been revitalised – and not just from the pandemic restrictions having been lifted. Downtown Toowoomba is a place bristling with new eateries bringing all sorts of international cuisine and tastes to a contemporary food scene.
However a CBD cannot survive on coffee and cake alone. The urban sprawl to outlying shopping centres, the convenience of online trawling and the lure of shopping trips to Brisbane has seen the demise of many regional town centres. Not so Toowoomba. The TRCouncil has been diligent in its renewal planning and the CBD is a comfortable mix of historical heritge building designs, and contemporary class with eyes firmly on the future.
Kwon Sang Walk is one such contemporary addition. This recognition of its Chineses origins is seen in the designed and built walkway connecting the library, Art Gallery and City Hall precincts at the southern CBD section of Ruthven Street to the entrance to the Oaks Hotel complex in Annand Street. The laneway gives easy and pleasant access to the high quality boutique shops in the laneway through to the car park in Annand Street and then on to the Empire Theatre and Neil Street businesses.
Designed to acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of the Chineses immigrant, Hock Sing, who, in 1883 imported Chinese goods and established a store at 552 Ruthven Street. The name was changed to Kwong Sang in 1901 and the store reflected its meaning – always welcome, always open. It seems to have been a community gathering place and with a Chinese Altar, also a religious centre. This altar is now in the Queensland Museum.
In 1957, next to the store, his son, Diamond Lum, opened the first Chineses restaurant, the Cathay Cafe. Though no evidence of the original store was found during the development of the Council owned site, the tribute to its past lies firmly in the oriental and artistic features.
Kwong Sang Walk is now an embedded part of Toowoomba, and worth a wander.
Telĺ your friends about it, too.
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