Media Release: Recognition of Japanese Canadian Historic Sites

Recognition of Japanese Canadian Historic Sites
***Heritage BC has extended the nominations deadline to November 30, 2016***

Aug. 22, 2016


What historic places in B.C.’s Japanese Canadian history do you feel should be recognized as significant for future generations? The Japanese Canadian community wants your input!On July 7th, 2016, Heritage BC announced on behalf of British Columbia Ministry of International Trade and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, that nominations of historic places for the Japanese Canadian Historic Places Recognition Project will be accepted until *November 30th, 2016. ( places-recognition-project/). [*The new deadline was announced on September 8, 2016.] British Columbians now have the opportunity to nominate places or sites that you feel tell the history of Japanese Canadians in B.C. In collaboration with Heritage B.C. and the provincial government, the Japanese Canadian community hopes that this provincial registry will become a stepping stone to create a digital interactive educational mapping tool to teach the lessons of Japanese Canadian history.

Japanese Canadians have made an important contribution to the history and building of B.C. since their arrival to Canada in 1877. Early immigrants worked in various industries including fishing, logging, and farming, creating many thriving communities such as Vancouver, Steveston, and for example places along the Skeena River. Japanese Canadians faced the injustices of being stripped of the vote in 1895, stripped of fishing licenses in the 1920’s, then during the second World War the injustices of forced displacement, internment and the dispossession of their properties by the federal and provincial government. Unable to return to the coast until 1949 due to racist politics, they were subjected to a violation of basic human rights by being forced to go east of the Rockies or be deported to Japan. In the process of rebuilding, they won a successful fight for Redress in 1988.

The history of Japanese Canadians is the history of BC, telling the Canadian immigrant story of overcoming a barrage of challenges to being acknowledged and celebrated as a vibrant part of the multicultural fabric of British Columbia society today.

Sites do not have to be grand, or even very old. They can range from buildings, monuments, cemeteries and parks to entire neighborhoods or districts, and abandoned sites that once stood, but have now been reclaimed by nature. To nominate a historic place complete or mail the online form by November 30, 2016. [On September 8, 2016, a new deadline of November 30, 2016 was announced replacing the original deadline of September 9, 2016.]

Submit nominations on the Heritage BC form, but also list up your site on the Japanese Canadian community Facebook page . The Facebook page will give real time information on what sites under which categories British Columbians have nominated in such as internment camps, cemetery sites etc.

Media contacts:

Laura Saimoto, Vancouver Japanese Language School & and Japanese Hall, alumni director;  (t) 604-351-0788

Lorene Oikawa, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadians Association, President;  (t) 604-842-8202