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Day 3: New Denver

Updated: Jul 19, 2019

The first arrivals of Japanese Canadians came to New Denver on May 21, 1942, to live on what once was an apple orchard. In 1942, the population was approximately 350 people. The interned Japanese Canadians increased that number to 1,505. Some Japanese Canadians remained in New Denver after 1946 because they had family in New Denver.

p 350 (early 1942) later that year the population increased by 1,505. New Denver had a TD Sanatorium that housed 100 patients.


Currently New Denver is the home to The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (NIMC). It is a National Historic Site. It is located on the site of “The Orchard” internment camp, the NIMC contains original buildings, period artifacts and interpretive displays as well as the Heiwa Teien Peace Garden, designed by the renowned Japanese Canadian gardener, Tomomichi (Roy) Sumi (https://newdenver.ca/nikkei/).


 

Photo by Aya Timmer

“It’s hard to believe almost that such beautiful landscapes were sites of struggle and born out of institutionalized racism. In my commitment to honour Japanese Canadian history, does this allow for space to enjoy the present beauty of these sites without guilt?” -Dominque


 

Photo by Jennifer Landrey

“In New Denver, a museum staff asked Kimiko, “You think you lived in one of our shacks?” Kimiko said, “I know I lived there.” I’ve heard so many people recount the conditions of the green lumber, read about it in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan, and being from the north, I know the cold. The winter of 1942 is preserved in photographs of tents collapsed beneath fresh snowfall. When I see the cracks on these walls and imagine how the wind whistled, how residents woke up to ice in their water buckets, I feel an urge to close my eyes.” -Jennifer


 

Photo by Helen Fitzgerald

"In New-Denver, the Nikkei Internment Memorial Center and their internment site made it an excellent time capsule preserved in the community. The holes in the wall, with the sun shining thought, was an image that stuck with me. In the summertime, insects could crawl in. The horrible part was to think about it in the wintertime. I was thinking that they almost had worst conditions than the first settlers, more than 300 years ago. Preserving historical artefacts like this is essential in developing historical empathy, because there is a difference between reading about the conditions and seeing them firsthand." -Roxanne C.



 

Photo by Helen Fitzgerald


"When we stopped at this sign before entering the town, it was important to me I personally retraced the steps of my family’s trip here 7 years before. I saw the sign and remembered a picture we took of my Grandma standing in front of this welcoming sign in a similar way. I wanted to include this also as a reminder that I wasn’t alone in this journey." -Natsuki A.



 

Photo by Helen Fitzgerald


 

Sources:

Adachi, Ken. The Enemy that Never Was. 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.

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