Japantown Multicultural Neighbourhood Celebration

Saturday March 28, 2009
10am to 9pm
All events are free admission

Oppenheimer Park and various other locations in the
Japantown and Powell Street neighbourhoods

Celebration of Japantown’s multicultural neighbourhood with history walking tours, displays and story sharing, daytime activities, a procession, ceremonies, performances, and open artist studios.

Produced by Powell Street Festival Society, Tonari Gumi, Vancouver Japanese Language School & Japanese Hall and Vancouver Moving Theatre, in association with a host of community partners www.vjls-jh.com or call 604-628-5672

Event Program – PDF

45Powell Street (Japantown) Historical and Cultural ReviewBy Savannah WallingThe ReportThe Powell Street (Japantown) Historical and Cultural Review was prepared for the City of Vancouver by a team led by Strathcona resident James Burton. This involved a community consultation pro-cess to review the historical and cultural heritage of the Powell Street area com-monly known as Japantown. I was one of the co-writers.The team was guided by the wisdom of an Advisory Group: individuals with a deep understanding of the physi-cal place and its cultural history. Many community members generously shared through their writing, interviews and conversations. They told us about the area’s history, identified some of its criti-cally important stories and the spaces and buildings needed to tell them, and shared ways to do the telling. We built on the research of other important projects such as the City of Vancouver DTES Public Realm Plan and the Strathcona Business Improvement Association’s Open Windows streetscape improvements project. The Review surveys the area’s history; its historical themes; places of heritage value; cultural activities that celebrate heritage; management tools for historic and cultural management; and ideas for future planning. It concludes with lots of community suggestions on “next steps.”

We hope this report will assist the community to argue on behalf of its own rights and goals. Historical themesThe report describes ten powerful themes experienced in one form or an-other over the years by the neighbour-hood’s residents: • First Nations presence; • Heart of the City; • Hastings Mill and Waterfront Industry; • Welcoming Community; • Powell Street Cycles of Prosperity and Loss; • Exclusion, Perseverance and Resistance; • Church and Cultural Precincts; • Housing and Home; • Japanese Canadian Settlement; and • Gathering at Powell Street Grounds. Historical contextThe Powell Street (Japantown) area is the place from which Vancouver began and grew. Some stories about Vancou-ver’s early development are to be found only in its streets and buildings—and in the memories of its residents. Powell Street (Japantown)’s history is part of the founding story of this city and there-fore the common heritage of all who live in Vancouver—the site of many his-toric events, waterfront industries and cultural institutions key to the city’s de-velopment. It’s also the story of a partic-ular place and of the people who have lived here and do so now. Powell Street/Japantown lies on land within the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. One of the ear-liest European settlements – Hastings Mill—was erected on an ancient Coast Salish site. This area was a hub of major trade routes between inland Coast Sal-ish and interior groups: it was a “place to meet other people who gathered and hunted with us.” There has always been a strong First Nations presence here and there still is today