By Mike Girard
My mother Doris, along with my uncle Tony and grandparents, Chiaki and Ise Katsuno, were interned at Tashme in 1942. Their experiences and the plight of all the Japanese interned during the War were basically unknown to me. Last summer, I went to the sight for the first time and learned that the place is called Sunshine Valley, a vacation and recreational area. There is no sign of Tashme, no monument or marker of any kind indicating that over 2,400 Japanese were interned and lived there. I walked the land where there once were hundreds of small rudimentary houses, and I took pictures of several of the orange metal roofed buildings, which housed the internees. Later, my mother told me that she had lived in the large barn that was converted into apartments, which today is the recreational centre. I showed my pictures taken in 2007, and she showed me hers, taken between 1942 and 1945. I had many questions and she had much to share and reminisce about.
Last summer I learned of the Sunshine Valley Homecoming, to be celebrated August 1 – 4, 2008, with all past residents invited to attend. I thought that the Homecoming would be a great opportunity to acknowledge Tashme and begin to put it “back on the map” so to speak. The fact that there was no physical sign of Tashme did not sit well with me and I was bothered by my discovery. It was like Tashme never existed. I had just completed driving across Canada from Ontario, and noticed many monuments and historical points of interest along the way. I left Tashme thinking that there ought to be a monument of some kind to remember the significant event in Canadian history with the Japanese at Tashme.
I am embarking on my “Hastings Park to Tashme 100 Mile Journey” by bicycle to remember and commemorate the Japanese people, who were interned at Tashme during the Second World War. The internment began at Hastings Park and thus the location of the beginning of my journey. Tashme is where my mother was interned, just beyond the “100 miles from the coast restriction”, and hence, my destination. I hope my journey will raise awareness of Tashme and contribute to the efforts of a permanent monument. I plan to arrive during the Homecoming – might see you there! firstname.lastname@example.org.