Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Slocan Extension is a collection of four adjacent Japanese Canadian internment areas including Slocan City, Bay Farm, Popoff and Lemon Creek, located approximately 26 kilometres south of New Denver in the Slocan Valley in B.C.'s West Kootenay region.
The four internment camp sites that make up the Slocan Extension have historic, social and cultural value as an enduring record of their association with the Japanese Canadian internment between 1942 and 1945 during which families were uprooted, their rights as Canadian citizens removed, and their possessions taken and sold.
Slocan City is significant as a former mining town with existing buildings which were re-purposed to create the internment camp which functioned as the service, social, government and economic centre of the Slocan Extension. The town is also the location of the Slocan cemetery which includes a monument commemorating at least nine Japanese Canadians cremated at the Slocan cemetery between 1942 and 1945, notable for being the only physical remaining indicator of the Japanese-Canadian internment in Slocan City. It was created in 1944 by the Slocan Buddhist Mission Society.
Slocan City has significance for functioning as a transfer point for internees, first from the B.C. coast en-route to other camps, while in 1946 it was a deportation point for Japanese Canadian citizens being 'repatriated' to Japan. This was a controversial event during which government policy gave Japanese Canadians the untenable choice of moving permanently east of the Rocky Mountains or leaving for Japan, a foreign country most of them had never seen.
Together, Bay Farm, Popoff and Lemon Creek internment sites have significance because they represent purpose-built camps integrated into government-leased existing farms in the Slocan Valley. Internees lived in unheated tents until dormitories, bunkhouses, family cabins and communal kitchen facilities were built with the forced labour of the internees themselves. The valley's Doukhobor farmers helped to feed the almost 5,000 internees, augmented by vegetable gardens in each of the camps. Even in these internment camps, Japanese Canadians were contributing to the economy of the province. There were several logging camps and sawmill sites where the men worked as loggers producing firewood, poles, posts and logs; there was a portable sawmill at Bay Farm. Others worked on the valley farms or for local businesses.
There is social value in the creation of community and recreation within the Slocan Extension despite the trauma and hardships associated with internment. Elementary schools and Japanese kindergartens operated at each of the camps, while the Catholic Church managed a high school for 250 students. Outstanding B.C. citizens Raymond Moriyama, David Suzuki and Joy Kogawa were educated at the Pine Crescent School at Bay Farm. There was a community hall, women's institute and baseball team.
Several individual buildings and structures hold specific value within the Slocan Extension. Today's Slocan Village Market, formerly Popoff's Market, is significant for its operation post-war as Kino's Market by Zenichi Kinoshita and operated as Kino's Market in Slocan City. Designed in 1952-53 by son James Kinoshita while an architecture student in Manitoba and operated by his parents, a modern, one-storey post and beam structure with a pitched roof and a large glass wall facing the street. Kinoshita would become a prominent international architect.
Built as an Oddfellows Hall in Slocan City in 1923, the Silvery Slocan Social Centre is significant for being a community and social hall for Japanese Canadians during internment. It was the site of a commemorative event in June, 2012 for unveiling of interpretive signs marking the former Lemon Creek and Popoff internment camps.
The internment sites associated with the Slocan Extension evoke the memories and stories of the Japanese Canadians who lived there, assisting with the education and understanding about what happened in B.C. during WWII. Every internment camp has heritage value for past, present, and future generations, and their individual recognition acknowledges Japanese Canadian struggles, tenacity and resilience.
Province of British Columbia
Heritage Conservation Act, s.18
Provincially Recognized Heritage Site (Recognized)
1942/01/01 to 1945/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Group Residence
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Province of British Columbia, Heritage Branch
Cross-Reference to Collection