Update on Hastings Park Project

Hastings Park Wall of Names
The Hastings Park Commemoration Project Committee as part of the education/interpretive presentation about our history in Hastings Park will include a wall of names of detained families. We are asking community members and descendants to forward the full names of family members who were detained in Hastings Park to:  Hastings Park Wall of Names, GVJCCA, #200 – 6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby, BC V5E4M7 or email gvjcca@shaw.ca.

On Sunday, October 23, 2011, Hastings Park Commemoration project committee members Mary and Tosh Kitagawa, Lorene Oikawa, Lily Shinde, Dan Tokawa, Grace Thomson, David Iwaasa, Donna Nakamoto and Judy Hanazawa met in Hastings Park. The group reviewed various relocation possibilities for the Parks Canada ‘Internment’ plaque and toured Momiji Garden and the Livestock Barn.  We met with Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang and sincerely appreciated Kerry’s enthusiasm and wholehearted support for this project. Kerry gave us a tour of the proposed Hastings Street garden walkway which could include a Japanese Canadian gateway and the upgrading of the surrounding area to better feature Momiji Garden. The comprehensive greening phase, further to the present work being done to Empire Field, creekside and Hastings Park greenways, is commencing in 2012 which is sooner than originally outlined in the Master Plan.  Kerry also referred to an October 20 motion passed by City Council outlining the critical need to immediately engage Hastings Park stakeholders to determine the long term governance of Hastings Park.  Instead of the PNE Board, the Vancouver Park Board may likely assume responsibility for overseeing all green area park development and maintenance in Hastings Park.

After some searching, the group found the 1987 Japanese Canadian Internment commemorative plaque set back at the lower footpath entrance to Momiji Garden. It was not readable and needed cleaning.   We noted the plaque could have been mounted alongside other Momiji Garden plaques at the front entrance near the corner of Hastings and Renfrew. We discussed design possibilities for the entrance to Momiji Garden and interpretive presentations in the livestock barn.  At the barn we peered through the windows and could see rows of dirty stalls which looked similar to archival pictures of the building during the detention of Japanese Canadian families. An idea also proposed by Councillor Jang is that archival material about Japanese Canadian UBC students whose education was disrupted by the Internment, could be exhibited in the proposed livestock barn interpretive centre.

We are also continuing to work with Dave Hutch, Hastings Park Redevelopment Planner.  In the near future, we will be submitting our project outline for grant applications, and be making a presentation to the PNE board to seek support and seed funding for developing our project.  We will also approach Parks Canada soon to assist us with refurbishing and relocating the Internment commemoration plaque.

By Judy Hanazawa

The Bulletin, A Journal of Japanese Canadian Community, History & Culture, is a Japanese Canadian community publication in print continuously since 1958. Published by the Japanese Canadian Citizen’s Association, The Bulletin is available free of charge to members. It is also available online at jccabulletin-geppo.ca

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