WWII Experience - Internment Centres

Japanese Canadians were sent to various forms of camps in the B.C. interior and northern Ontario.

Road camp projects – Between March and June 1942 some 2000 men were placed at various road camps working on road construction projects. By October 1942 many were allowed to join families in the interior internment camps.

Internment camps – The vast majority of Japanese Canadians, 12,000, were sent to camp locations in B.C. interior, which were often isolated by mountains. Initially, they were housed in tents until the hastily built shacks and buildings, or hotels in abandoned or “ghost” towns, were ready for occupancy.

Self Supporting projects - With permission from the BC Security Commission a small group of internees went to “self supporting projects”. They had to pay for their transportation, housing materials and living expenses but the families were able to stay together.

Prisoner of war camps – Community leaders with influence and men who showed the slightest resistance to the uprooting were interned in these camps located at Petawawa and Angler, Ontario. Some 700 males were imprisoned, many for the duration of the war.

Map of the internment centers

During the first winter at Slocan, many Japanese Canadians had to live in tents. (photo: Vancouver JCCA, Redress Committee)

Housing at Tashme, BC, built for the internees.

A family inside an internment shack lived in crowded conditions. Two families shared a house. (photo: Public Archives of Canada)

Identical 28’ by 14’ shacks were built in large numbers in the BC internment camps. (photo: Public Archives of Canada)

Aerial view of Lemon Creek. (photo: Vancouver JCCA, Redress Committee)

Terry Watada sings about “New Denver”, internment camp.

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