Hastings Park update
Since the opening of the Hastings Park signage exhibit in April, 2015 the Hastings Park committee has been involved in follow up developments such as:
• Responding to the City’s notice that Momiji Garden directional signage is being updated and working with the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Association on wording for the new signs. The new signs now approved by the VJGA and the City will read, “ Momiji Gardens – commemorating Japanese Canadian Redress.”
• Meeting PNE Community Relations Manager Kate Huffman to ensure our signage exhibit will remain intact during the 2015 Pacific National Exhibition. Committee members Jean and Walt Kamimura, Dan Tokawa and Judy Hanazawa did a walkabout with Kate and provided feedback on the PNE’s concern about line ups in close proximity to the signs. We recommended for the next PNE in 2016 that the sign overlooking the Livestock Building should be positioned further away from 3 ATM machines.
• Meeting with Vancouver Park Board Hastings Park Redevelopment planner Michelle Larigakis to find out the current status of the Hastings Park Livestock Building Redevelopment Plan. During a meeting with Michelle on August 18 she informed us the Livestock Building redevelopment would involve working with the PNE on their Building business plan. We informed Michelle the next phase of the Japanese Canadian Hastings Park project involved the mounting of an interpretive display in the Livestock Building which would include a commemorative listing of all those who were detainees in the park. Michelle responded positively to this plan and recommended our committee should work with the PNE in their planning for proposed activities in a renovated Livestock Building. Michelle informed us there will be a Stakeholders group connected to the building’s planning and it would be appropriate that our group would become involved with this group. Michelle also agreed to participate with the committee in a tour of the Livestock Building and the committee is currently determining a date and time for the tour to take place.
• Michelle confirmed the new Momiji Garden directional signs have been approved and will go into production. We asked about the possibility of the Garden having its own interpretive sign and she responded positively to this proposal. As a follow up, the Hastings Park committee made contact with the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Association receiving endorsement by their board regarding the plan to have an interpretive sign mounted in Momiji Garden. The sign could provide information about the history of the garden and the Gardener’s Association. Cost for developing the sign would be similar to other Hastings Park signage at approximately $5000. Sources of funding should be determined for this project and the Hastings Park committee and the Gardeners Association can jointly review possible steps regarding fundraising.
• The Hastings Park website which was an integral part of the Hastings Park signage project is very near completion. Committee member and past Nikkei National Museum Director Curator Beth Carter reviewed the website with other committee members during a meeting on September 23. The website design and content provides a broad, enlightening and visually engaging presentation of historic and social information including detainee stories, artists interpretations about the detention of Japanese Canadians in Hastings Park. The committee also discussed the possibility that the website can be an easily accessible site for Hastings Park detainees and detainee families to provide their names for documentation in the planned commemorative display in the Livestock Building. At this time the National Nikkei Museum is maintaining a file of detainee individuals and families. The website launch is planned for early November.
As the Hastings Park Project’s planned next phase is the development of the interpretive display in the Livestock Building, the committee is aware it is critical to review fundraising steps. The National Nikkei Museum has proposed a workplan timeline for its initial development to be 2017, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the 1942 Internment of Japanese Canadians. The Museum is looking at funding possibilities such as a grant funding application with Heritage Canada. The Hastings Park committee will continue to provide update information about the Hastings Park project including developments with our website, the Momiji Garden and Livestock Building Interpretive Display.