Senior’s Column

Off highway 6 at 306 Josephine Street, is the location of the Nikkei Interment Memorial Centre, National Historic Site.

Marilyn Boxwell

Off highway 6 and flowing effortlessly into the Orchard area of New Denver at 306 Josephine Street, is the location of the Nikkei Interment Memorial Centre, National Historic Site.

It is the sole remaining interpretive centre in Canada which is dedicated toward emphasizing  the physical history and personal memories concerning the internment of over 20,000 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 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 Buddist Temple (not open to the public). 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 Interment Memorial Centre (National Historic Site) is open seven days a week between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. until Sept. 30. There is an admission fee with funds used to help with maintenance expenses. For further information call the village office at 250-358-2316.

 

 

Arrow Lakes News