Strolling through Steveston history

Earlier this year, our Japanese practicum student Rena interned at the Cannery and left us with a blog about our neighbourhood experience. Here is a look at our village environs through the eyes of a visiting student from Japan!

Hi everyone. I’m Rena Ohno from SOKA University in Japan. I came to Canada on February 4th and then I worked at this cannery for an internship for three weeks. This is my experience blog. Please enjoy it.

Steveston Village waterfront walk
You can see the beautiful view if you walk along the river bank in Steveston Village. In the old days, there were so many canneries, for example, one called “Imperial Cannery” built in 1903. Before I came to Canada, I thought it always rained in Vancouver. I also knew it is called “Raincouver”. But on this day, it was such a sunny day – I was able to see a nice view of Steveston.

Britannia Heritage Shipyards
If you walk just 20 minutes from the Gulf of Georgia Cannery NHS, you can reach the Britannia Shipyard. This is an important place in Canadian history. Here, you can see an authentic representation of a once thriving community of canneries, boat yards, residences and stores. The staff of Richmond City and volunteers work together to keep and restore the shipyard as an active wooden boat center and waterfront park.

This collection of buildings at the shipyard was designated a National Historic Site in 1992 by the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board.  One of the buildings is the Murakami House. It was built in 1885.  The Murakami family who were Japanese immigrants lived in the residence from 1929 to 1942 and built 1 or 2 gillnet fishing boats per winter and fished in the summer. The house provides valuable information and shares their story through artefacts.

When I saw this house, I was surprised. I thought that they lived in Canada so their culture would also be very Canadian. But there are a lot of Japanese cultural items on display, and I could feel a sense Japan inside this home.

How to enjoy the Britannia Shipyard
You can choose to explore the shipyards by yourself or join a tour – I recommend the tour because you can get more information than just exploring on your own. When I visited, I joined a tour of the Britannia Shipyard and the Net Loft. I learned a lot about how the cannery workers worked and lived at that time.

On this day I learned so much about the history of Canada. There were a lot of different people, living and working together. However, segregation also existed because of the war. I think nowadays the world is growing increasingly globalized. We need to know about the cultures as well as the ways of thinking of people from different countries. To know about these histories is important to understand the current situations in the world now and to learn not to repeat the mistakes. So if you have time, learn about our histories and teach them to future generations of people. Visiting the Britannia Shipyards and also the Gulf of Georgia Cannery are good ways to start the learning!

Posted by m.horita
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