Day 1: Hastings Park
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Between March 16 and September 30, 1942, approximately 8,000 Japanese Canadians passed through Hastings Park, awaiting deportation to the camps in the interior of BC. Men, women and children were segregated and housed; Women and children many were segregated to live in the livestock stalls, which were often dubbed as cages. Some of these putrid cages only had blankets hung up for privacy. The men were kept in the Forum building. This temporary stop for the Japanese Canadians consisted of a hospital, BCSC offices and a lot to store their impounded vehicles.
"The cloudy weather and angle made for a foreboding image of the Forum building in Hastings Park, which was used as the men’s dormitory. The tone of this picture reflects how I felt drained and sick to my stomach after walking the park grounds that morning. Being able to see the kind of space the Nikkei women, children, elderly, and men were temporarily confined to was heartbreaking and eerie. I couldn’t help but imagine the feelings of my grandparents who would have been young children at the time and far from their homes on Vancouver Island." -Natsuki A.
"This photo was immediately compelling to me. The broken glass allows the viewer to gaze inside one of the large buildings that once held Japanese Canadians as they awaited their forced internment. I wondered how long that broken glass had been there, and if, perhaps, someone imprisoned here had once seen this view in reverse. The contrast created by over exposing the photograph serves the purpose providing greater clarity inside the building that otherwise would be possible. This visual contrast, to me, also represents the more obvious and unsettling contrast between the current-day use of the park as the fairgrounds for the PNE, with its use as part of the internment" Josh v.E.
"Hastings Park This photo of an entrance to the Livestock Building at Hastings Park is the only photo I took on this trip where I had an inspiration for the photo journal before taking the photo. As the tour group was approaching the Livestock Building, I was struck by the idea of a darkened doorway where it is impossible to see inside. This picture is reflective for both myself, as I did not know what to expect on this tour, and the Japanese-Canadians, who at the beginning of internment must have felt a feeling of now knowing what the future would hold." -Tim P.
Adachi, Ken. The Enemy that Never Was: A History of the Japanese Canadians. Toronto, 1976.
Kawamoto, Linda Reid and Beth Carter. Karizumai: A Guide to Japanese Canadian Internment Sites. Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, 2016.
Sunahara, Ann Gomer. The Politics of Racism: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Toronto, 1981.