Photos: Ceremony commemorates Japanese-Canadians’ contributions at highways work camps

Ceremony marks the unveiling of a new commemorative sign near Three Valley Gap.

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97-year-old Toronto resident Stony Nakano worked on the road camps near Three Valley Gap during the Second World War. He travelled to the Sept. 28 ceremony to unveil the new commemorative sign at the west end of Three Valley Lake. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

An audience including local, regional, and provincial dignitaries gathered for the unveiling of a new commemorative sign at the rest stop on the west side of Three Valley Lake on Sept. 28.

The sign tells the story of Japanese-Canadians who were forced to work on regional highways during the Second World War, including at a work camp near Three Valley Gap.

Toronto resident Stony Nakano travelled to the ceremony to share his story. He grew up on a 22-acre family farm near Maple Ridge, where his family farmed strawberries, chickens and hogs.

When the war came, the Canadian government deemed Japanese-Canadian citizens ‘enemy aliens’ and forced them away from the coast into internment camps in the Interior and elsewhere in Canada. Some able-bodied men were forced into highways road camps, where they worked for little pay under difficult conditions, often living in makeshift buildings.

Stony’s family farm was confiscated by the government, and at the age of 21 he found himself working as a manual labourer near Revelstoke, where they worked to build and improve local highways.

After the war, he was forced to start over. Nakano spoke of the need to remember and learn from this dark chapter in Canadian history.

For the full story, see the link below to our original story, first published in the October/November issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.

 

Three Valley Gap sign unveiling ceremony commemorates interned Japanese-Canadians’ highways contribution