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Heritage Vancouver Top10 Tour & Talk – Japantown, North Strathcona: Past, Present, and Future

September 25, 2016 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


North Strathcona, including Japantown, lies on unceded Coast Salish territory, and was built on ancient Salish sites, possibly 3,000 years old, along the south shore of Burrard Inlet. The seasonal site of Q’umq’umal’ay’ (“Big Leaf Maple Trees”) included the area at the intersection of today’s Hasting Street at Dunlevy Avenue and was declared Crown land after the colony of British Columbia was created in 1858. This land soon became a European logging camp and then Hastings Saw Mill, in 1867.
North Strathcona grew up around Hastings Mill and other waterfront industries which from their beginnings attracted Japanese immigrants. By the early 1890s, Powell Street was a flourishing mixed-use area where Japanese-Canadians owned buildings and businesses with storefronts and community services at the street and affordable rental accommodation above.
The neighbourhood was always ethnically diverse. By the early 1920s, most of Vancouver’s Japanese and Chinese residents lived in walking distance of “Little Toyko”. First Nations worked with Japanese-Canadians and other immigrants in waterfront industries, and Yugoslav-, Scandinavian- and Afro- Canadians were also living here.
We invite you to join us for our second tour and talk in a new series on Heritage Vancouver’s Top10. The tour will explore the diversity of North Strathcona as “Vancouver’s first neighbourhood”, the pre-1942 vitality of Japantown, the post- internment community, and the current issues shaping the future of this historic area.
This tour will unfold as a discussion between guest speakers:

  • Linda Reid, Reference Archivist, National Nikkei Museum and team member, Nikkei Stories Documentary Series, Orbit Films, and Landscapes of Injustice project, Simon Fraser University.
  • James Burton, Partner, Birmingwood & Wood Architects and Planners, and Denise Cook, Principal, Denise Cook Design, Consultants to the Japantown Historical & Cultural Review, City of Vancouver.

The guest speakers will explore Strathcona North as a place of arrival and diversity with the focus on the people and places in pre-1942 Japantown, internment, loss of property and community, and perspectives on the current issues of cultural continuity and the critical importance of the retention and rejuvenation of historic sites within Japantown and the North Strathcona neighbourhood.

Helen Cain will facilitate this tour and talk. Helen is a former Heritage Vancouver Board director, Past-President of Heritage BC, and is a community, heritage and development planner. She was a consultant to the Japantown Historical & Cultural Review, and is currently the heritage planner in Policy Planning at the City of Richmond.

  • The tour will begin at the Japanese School and Hall at the Northwest Corner of Alexander Street and Jackson Avenue and will end in Oppenheimer Park.
    Please wear comfortable shoes and prepare for rain.
    Please note this event may be photographed by Heritage Vancouver Society.


Heritage Vancouver
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