Day 4: Kaslo
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
500 residents presided in Kaslo by early 1942. By that October, an additional 964 Japanese Canadians arrived, making Kaslo the second “ghost town” to be inhabited in the interior BC. Kootenay Lake provided the Japanese Canadians, and many of them worked in logging, construction, maintenance and gardening. Kalso was the home base for The New Canadian, the only Japanese Canadian newspaper allowed to print during the war.
“On day four of the bus tour, we travelled to Kaslo from Nelson. Our first stop in Kaslo brought us to its museum and the very building where the New Canadian newspaper was published during the internment of Japanese Canadians. Outside of the museum, there was little else in Kaslo showing it was a site of Japanese Canadian internment. With my fellow classmates, I wandered the small streets and took in the breathtaking views. The expansive vista of the lake greeted us in our exploration of the town, and it served again to erase the idea of this trip as a pilgrimage to memorial sites. The natural scenes pulled me into a state of adventure and awe at their pristine beauty, but always in the back of my mind, an irreconcilable truth stirred: for Japanese Canadians, this was a prison.” -Nat H.
“Kaslo Cultural Centre has had to strike a balance between the needs of its modern community and the memorial work that Kaslo, as an internment site, demands. Entering the building, a pre-internment hotel refurbished to house internees, the first exhibit showcases modern art. Upstairs, the tone changes entirely. Rows of photos from the internment period lace the ways, accompanied by oral histories told by Japanese” -Makayla S.
“Unlike some of the other internment camps which were either segregated or extremely remote, Kalso was very accepting of the Japanese-Canadian community during the internment era. Moreover, the Japanese-Canadian newspaper titled “The New Canadian” was allowed to be published in Kaslo.” -Adam M.
Sunahara, Ann Gomer. The Politics of Racism: The Uprooting of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Toronto, 1981.
Kawamoto, Linda Reid and Beth Carter. Karizumai: A Guide to Japanese Canadian Internment Sites. Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre, 2016.
Adachi, Ken. The Enemy that Never Was. Toronto, 1976.