The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Japanese Canadian Legacy Project Committee have unveiled the final sign commemorating the 75th anniversary of Japanese Canadian internment during the Second World War.
Since October 2017, eight signs have been installed to recognize sites of historical significance for Japanese Canadians, such as internment camps and road camps. The latest sign is located at the Rutherford Beach rest area on Highway 1. It helps share the history of the Revelstoke-Sicamous road camp and the Japanese Canadian men who were forcibly sent to work there to build the Trans-Canada Highway during the Second World War.
“Installing these signs ensures this part of our province’s history is remembered and that we acknowledge the hardships these men faced,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “It’s important that we recognize past mistakes and learn from them, so we can work together to create a more inclusive British Columbia.”
“I am extremely grateful to see the completion of this highway legacy sign project,” said Laura Saimoto, chair of the Japanese Canadian Legacy Project Committee. “With the installation of these signs, we are honouring those 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were wrongfully uprooted from their homes and educating future generations about our history.”
The following signs have been installed throughout B.C.’s Interior as part of this project:
- October 2017 – Tashme Internment Camp – Highway 3
- May 2018 – East Lillooet Self Supporting Internment Camp – Highway 12
- June 2018 – New Denver Internment Camp – Highway 6
- June 2018 – Kaslo Internment Camp – Highway 31
- June 2018 – Slocan City Internment Camp – Highway 6
- July 2018 – Greenwood Internment Camp – Highway 3
- September 2018 – Hope-Princeton Road Camp – Highway 3
- September 2018 – Revelstoke-Sicamous Road Camp – Highway 1
- In January 1942, the federal government ordered male Japanese nationals between the ages of 18-45 to leave the 100-mile restricted zone along B.C.’s coast, under the War Measures Act.
- Approximately 500 men, who were either naturalized Canadians or Canadian-born, were sent to the Revelstoke-Sicamous road camp, one of four major road building camps that were set up in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.
- The Revelstoke-Sicamous Road Camp project consisted of six camps: Solsqua, Yard Creek, North Fork, Taft, Griffin Lake and Three Valley Gap.
- The men were forced to improve, align and reconstruct 44.5 miles of the Trans-Canada Highway for only 20 cents per day, in harsh conditions.
- The Revelstoke-Sicamous Road Camp was the first of the four major road camps to close after two years and four months. However, it was not until 1949 that Japanese Canadians had their civil rights restored and were allowed to return to B.C.’s coast.