Vancouver interpretive centre planned to memorialize internment of Japanese Canadians

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      Vancouver is going to have an interpretive centre about the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

      The centre will be a new program at the Japanese Hall, which was designated by the federal government last year as a national historic site.

      The introduction of the centre was mentioned as part of submissions in a rezoning application for the Japanese Hall located at 475-487 Alexander Street.

      According to a design rationale paper prepared by Birmingham & Wood Architects Planners, a digital interactive wall that visitors can physically interact with will be a central feature to the experience.

      Behind the digital screen will be an audio-visual room and storage area.

      “The long term plan for the Japanese Hall is to introduce a new program for the building: an Interpretive Centre program, where children from around the Lower Mainland can visit to learn of the Japanese Internment experience,” according to the architectural firm.

      The rezoning application is intended to allow the addition of a mezzanine inside the hall’s auditorium.

      “The newly created mezzanine space above the storage area will be used as break-out space for classes visiting the interpretive program,” according to Birmingham & Wood.

      In 2012, the B.C. government formally apologized for the internment of Japanese Canadians in camps in the province.

      The Canadian government in 1942 ordered 21,000 people of Japanese descent to relocate to camps in B.C. interior.

      Properties belonging to Japanese Canadians were also seized.

      In 1988, the Canadian federal government formally apologized to Japanese Canadian survivors and their families, and a $300 million compensation package was provided.