Then and Now: Dormitories used for Japanese-Canadian Internment in WWII

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A black mark on Canada’s, and Vancouver’s, history was the internment of Japanese-Canadian citizens during WWII. Buildings on the grounds of Hastings Park were converted into dormitories. The livestock building became the women’s dormitory. There were 10 showers for 1500 women. One inmate said, “You couldn’t disguise the smell of horses, cows, sheep and pigs.” The massive collection of bunk beds shown above was the men’s dormitory.


One bright spot in recent decades has been the community-driven attempt to revitalize green space in Hastings Park. Momiji Garden was created as a memorial to the internment of Japanese-Canadians during WWII. Then, in 1999 the Sanctuary and Italian Garden opened to the public.

At the current time, the livestock building is open to the public only during the 17-day PNE Fair. The City now plans to restore this building with taxpayer dollars. The future governance body of Hastings Park will determine its use, and whether it will be for public benefit or revenue generation for the PNE.

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