A building in Vancouver housing Canada’s oldest Japanese-language school has been designated by the government as a national historic site, according to a report by CBC.
A ceremony was held Wednesday at the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, which was opened in 1906 in an area later known as Powell Street, then known as Japantown where early Japanese pioneers to Canada began to settle and work from the late 19th century.
The building served as a school that taught Japanese subjects in Japanese to youth all the way to Grade 12. Due to an increasing number of Japanese people moving to the area near Powell Street, the Japanese Hall became a second language school in 1919.
When the war broke out in December 1941, the Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall was forced to shut down, as were 50 other Japanese language schools operating in B.C., according to CBC. Strathcona Elementary had 1,200 elementary school students and 630 of them were Japanese-Canadian and those students were told not to show up to school when the war began.
The school was originally established to teach Japanese to the children of the expanding community of Japanese immigrants. First opened in a different location in Japantown, it moved to its current building in 1928.
At the ceremony, Japan’s Consul General in Vancouver Takashi Hatori said the building has served as a bridge for cultural and linguistic understanding of Japan in Canada. He added that its designation as a historic site would help further develop the relationship between the two countries.
‘It’s a miracle story’: Vancouver’s Japanese Hall designated a national historic site
Japanese school’s building in Canada named nat’l historic site