Gabriola locations among Heritage BC’s newly designated Japanese-Canadian historic sites.

Gabriola Historical and Museum Society Release: by Ivan Bulic

On April 01, BC Minister for Multiculturalism Teresa Wat announced a list of 56 historic sites with significance to Canadians of Japanese descent. They include two locations in Silva Bay – the Sunrise Sawmill and Koyama’s Fishcamp. The 56 sites were selected from more than 176 province-wide places nominated last year as part of Heritage BC’s Japanese-Canadian Historic Places Project.

The Sunrise Sawmill and Koyama fishcamp sites are historically important as reminders of the multicultural origins of Silva Bay that included First Nations, Portuguese, Japanese and European settlers. The two sites were nominated for Heritage BC recognition by the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society following extensive research and documentation including Phyllis Reeve’s article The Japanese-Canadians of Silva Bay, in the Mar. 2011 issue of the Museum journal SHALE.

The 56 Japanese sites will be listed with statements of significance on the B.C. Register of Historic Places and appear on an interactive map produced by Heritage BC:

Heritage BC’s announcement coincided with the 75th anniversary of the start of Japanese internment between 1942 and 1949, when Japanese-Canadians were forcibly removed from the B.C. coast.

For detailed information about the Japanese settlements in Silva Bay click here.

Koyama’s floating fishcamp, showing store in foreground, dwelling behind.  Photo: Gabriola Museum Archives.