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Day 3: Lemon Creek

Updated: Jul 18, 2019


Photo by Josh van Es

Lemon Creek is located 9km south of Slocan City. The creek supplied the drinking water for the camp, rainbow trout, and a place to swim in the summer. During the winter when the creek was frozen it was used as a skating rink. 1,851 Japanese Canadians were interned at Lemon Creek, the second largest individual camp after Tashme. At Lemon Creek, forced-work crews constructed 268 two-family shacks. Most of the shacks were 28x14 feet. There were two sleeping rooms with a shared kitchen between them. Outhouses, washing and bathing facilities were also shared. The principal of the school at Lemon Creek, Irene Uchida, was later named an Officer of the Order of Canada for her work as a geneticist.



Photo by Helen Fitzgerald


"Other than the road signs and small Japanese garden, there was no evidence of any

internment camp in Lemon Creek. This bench serves, not only as a subtle form of display for those passing by or resting on it, but it is a personal commemoration for Mike and Natsuki’s [Abe] family who were interned at Lemon Creek. It is an emotional thought to think that whoever rests on the bench now has the choice to pass through Lemon Creek, whereas Mike’s family did not have any choice or say in the matter." -Aya T.



Mike and Natsuki Abe. Mike's parents were interned at Lemon Creek. Photo by Aya Timmer

"This was the day I had been mentally preparing myself for, for perhaps the last few months. When I last made the trip to the interior of BC with my Dad and grandparents, I was thirteen. I was only beginning to understand what that empty field meant to Grandpa. According to Dad, that signage gathering was one of the few times he ever willing told stories of internment. … I expected the emotional reaction that took me while I sat on the bench my father and his siblings had dedicated to our Issei and Nisei ancestors. In some ways, I felt as ragged as the bench looked, having been considerably weathered in the last seven years."

-Natsuki A.



Photo by Helen Fitzgerald

"What is now a fenced in area completely overgrown in grass. At first glance, there is no vivid evidence that this fenced area was once an internment Camp… Only maps help jog the memories for those who once lived there. Jean and I searched for her family and grandmother’s home and found it. As soon as she discovered the house her memory came flourishing back of running through the gravel path to her grandmother’s house to go to the bathhouse to swim." Lindsey G.


Sources:

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.

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