Yellowhead-Blue River Highway Project signage dedication ceremony

Marie Birkbeck

MLA Shirley Bond (centre, left) with Park staff members and Japanese Canadians, some of whom are descendants of internees.
MLA Shirley Bond (centre, left) with Park staff members and Japanese Canadians, some of whom are descendants of internees.
Marie Birkbeck photo
At the base of Mount Robson at the Visitor Centre is a new interpretive sign to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the tragedy known as Japanese Canadian Internment, that serves to remind us of the atrocities dealt to the Japanese Canadians following the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II.

It was at this time that the government thought that Japanese Canadians living in the coastal areas of BC were spies, and ordered all able-bodied men of Japanese descent between the ages of 18 - 45 years, and many older and not physically fit for hard labor, within a 100-mile wide strip along the Pacific coast, to be rounded up and sent to remote areas of BC to work on the road camps.

The largest and most remote highway project was the Yellowhead-Blue River Highway, with nineteen camps along the stretch from Jasper to Red Sands. Camps were crudely built and living conditions were harsh.

Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount was in attendance on June 23 to witness the unveiling of the sign which was a collaborative effort of the National Association of Japanese Canadians and BC Parks, with support from numerous museums, cultural centres, historical societies, and individuals from across BC and Canada.

The new sign replaces one that was previously erected at Lucerne, and is one of five new signs to be unveiled at the sites of the Internment camps in British Columbia.

The new sign featuring a map of the route along the Yellowhead Highway down to Blue River; the circles along the way indicating places where road camps were set up.
The new sign featuring a map of the route along the Yellowhead Highway down to Blue River; the circles along the way indicating places where road camps were set up.
Marie Birkbeck photo
The unveiling of the new interpretive sign at Mt. Robson Visitor Centre.
The unveiling of the new interpretive sign at Mt. Robson Visitor Centre.
Marie Birkbeck photo