Society News

The Nikkei Stories of Steveston

Nikkei Stories of Steveston pays tribute to the struggles and successes of Japanese Canadian pioneers and their descendants.

Ten short documentary videos reanimate the people, places and events of the historic Steveston Japanese Canadian community.

Nikkei Stories signage is now located in 10 locations around Steveston. These signs display a QR code that link viewers directly to the corresponding video via their mobile phones.

The videos can also be accessed online at: www.nikkeistories.com/#videos

Nikkei Stories of Steveston launched 16 February, 2016 at an official Premiere event held at the Steveston Buddhist Temple.

Richmond Mayor, Malcolm Brodie was the event’s Master of Ceremonies and special guest speakers were: Mr. Akira Uchida, Deputy Consul General of Japan; Mr. Seiji Okada, Consul General of Japan; Mr. Kelvin Higo, Chair of the Steveston Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre; Mr. Loren Slye, Chair of the Steveston Historical Society; Mr. Gordon McLennan, Writer/Director at Orbit Films; Mr. Greg Masuda, Camera/Editor at Orbit Films

Some pictures from the launch event:

New Mural Installed in Fisherman’s Park Steveston

Over the past year a group of non-profit organizations in Steveston have come together to produce a fishing mural on the building in Fisherman’s Park. The inspiration for the project came from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society and the Steveston Historical Society as an effort to beautify the western end of Steveston and highlight the village’s fishing history.

Rebecca Clarke, Executive Director for the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society says, “We are excited to have a significant piece of public art installed at the west end of the village. With new commercial buildings at the corner of Bayview and 3rd Ave, I think we’ll see a significant increase in pedestrian traffic and it’s good to show we are more than an industrial area.”

Working with the Steveston Harbour Authority who owns the building and park, these two heritage groups formed a committee with representatives from each of the three non-profits as well as the Richmond Arts Coalition. The committee created a plan for depicting Steveston’s fishing past on three sides of the building.

With support from the City of Richmond, the Steveston Harbour Authority, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society and Benjamin Moore paints, the group hired experienced mural artist Victoria Oginski to begin the work for the south facing wall of the building. Basing her work on images from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s collection and photographer Joel Baziuk, Victoria has beautifully captured the essence of today’s fishing industry in Steveston.

According to Sarah Glen, Executive Director on the Steveston Historical Society board, “The Historical Society is excited to share Steveston’s history with the public in a new way. We plan to include the mural in future walking tours of the village to help visitors understand the importance of fishing in our history.”

The group is currently seeking funding to add mural panels on the remaining two sides of the building. These panels will complete the history of fishing in Steveston, from First Nations village to thriving fishing harbour.

Photo Credit: Bob Baziuk

SHS Fundraiser featuring Brandon Isaak a great success!

Singer Brandon Isaak at SHS fundraiser

Our Steveston Historical Society Fundraiser at The Buck & Ear Bar and Grill in Steveston, BC on September 26, 2015 was a great success.

Over 125 people including Mayor Brodie, Councillors Day, Loo and McNulty, listened to great blues music by Brandon Isaak and devoured a fabulous buffet meal. A few lucky attendees came away with prizes donated by local merchants and supporters.

Generous donors made the evening a fundraising success as well as a memorable evening with old and new friends. Many thanks to those who generously gave donations to the event as well as the many volunteers who made it a super evening!

Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society Building Exhibit

Official opening of the Japanese Fishermen's Society Building

The Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society (JFBS) Building, located in Steveston directly behind the Steveston Museum & Post Office is now open to the public. The museum is open Monday to Sunday from 12-4pm.

It features interpretation about the Japanese Canadian experience in Steveston from the time of their arrival in Steveston to the time of their internment during World War II. Their story is told in their own words, and uses their objects and archival images.

The exhibition begins with the arrival of the first Nikkei, or people of Japanese descent. Their many contributions to Steveston from fishing and farming to cultural arts, and from education to kendo and judo are explored. The exhibition also interprets the Japanese community’s internment during World War II and the postwar return of some Nikkei to Steveston.

The JFBS Building is a symbol of the Japanese community’s success and of their many contributions to Steveston. The building was located at Number One Road and Chatham Street, where it was situated between the Japanese Hospital and the Japanese Language School, two important JFBS projects. The building was likely used for a variety of purposes, including the administration of both the hospital and the school.

The Japanese Hospital itself was built in response typhoid fever epidemics, which were an annual scourge during the last years of the 19th century. The hospital was completed in 1900 at a cost of $1,800 and contained a large ward of 30 beds, two private rooms and a small surgery. Although built and funded by the Japanese community, it was open to everyone in Steveston.

The Japanese Language School educated young children, with an increasing emphasis on English. Eventually the full BC curriculum was adopted and Japanese classes were taught after school.

The Steveston Museum would like to thank the:

Nikkei National Museum – Exhibition content

Steveston Museum Site Building Committee – Exhibition advisors

Steveston Historical Society – Exhibition content development

City of Richmond, Production – Morgan Muir, Graphic Design

David Jensen and Associates – Exhibit design

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