Off highway 6 and flowing effortlessly into The Orchard Camp area of New Denver at 306 Josephine Street, is the location of the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, National Historic Site.
It is the sole remaining interpretive centre in Canada dedicated toward emphasizing the physical history and personal memories concerning the internment of close to 22,000 Japanese Canadians during World War 11. The New Denver camp was just one of ten situated in the Slocan Valley and to where Nikkei (Japanese Canadians) were transported to, from points all over the province.
The memorial site includes examples of the small buildings accorded to each family at that time, along with a community hall which houses the original Buddhist temple (not open to the public). Period artifacts and interpretive displays as well as original buildings may also be viewed. The historic centre at its present location is the sole survivor of the compound, as after 1946 all other buildings associated with the site were razed by fire.
The Kyowakaii Society of New Denver was formed in 1943 to help deal with the impact of the internment on the lives of these Japanese Canadians.
Referred to as the Heiwa Teien (Peace Garden) the site has been landscaped as a formal Japanese garden setting which invokes a contemplative mood appropriate for such a memorial. The garden was designed by a former internee, master gardener (Roy) Tomomichi Sumi.
The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (National Historic Site) is open seven days a week between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. until September 30. There is an admission fee of $9/$7 for individuals or a $20 family rate, with funds used to help with maintenance expenses. For further information, call the centre at 1-250-358-7288.