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Page last updated May 3, 2015
I have produced a graphic novel – Toshiko – about this period.
Wong's Market, as it is now called, is
one of the survivors of a generation of grocery stores that
dotted the city, usually along the streetcar lines. Built on
Main Street at 44th in 1910, it is a nondescript two-story
woodframe structure, now covered in stucco but once sheathed
with brick (on the north and the front) and horizontal board
siding (on the south side). Downstairs is a surprisingly narrow
store space, while upstairs is living quarters for the
proprietors. It was the first building on that part of Main,
erected once BC Electric extended the streetcar line south from
33rd to Marine Drive. Originally called the Reeve & Harding
General Store, it was soon renamed Blyth's Cash Grocery and
provisioned by Kelly-Douglas and Company (evidenced by the Nabob
billboard on the side of the photo below).
Fumiko Fukuhara with her newborn son David on 44th Avenue just west of Main, about 1939
George Fukuhara inside his store, Blyth's Cash Market, about 1939. He took the picture himself, using a timer.
That January, in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbour, the federal and provincial governments moved swiftly to rid the coast of its Japanese-Canadian residents, stripping them of their rights and turning them into "enemy aliens." Hastings Park, the site of the annual fall exhibition and the race track, became the coordinating point for their dispatch and internment. Probably the Fukuharas were not detained initially, but were allowed, as was the case with other local people, to remain in their homes under curfew. However, they were soon forced into Hastings Park where they reunited with their relatives, the Nagatas and the Konishis, who had been taken from Mayne Island in April. Kumajiro Nagata, the extended family's "elder" who had been in charge of the Japanese businesses on Mayne Island, made the decision that they would strike off on their own, like the Japanese Canadians who went to the self-sustaining villages in the Interior (see below). Perhaps using the sponsorship of an old associate named Charlie Nakamura, originally from Telegraph Cove, who had established a railway-tie mill in Salmon Arm, they obtained permission from the BC Security Commission to set out in June for Skimikin, near Squilax in the Shuswap area.
"En route to work camp near Jasper," photo taken February 25, 1942 by Jack Lindsay. City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-12
"Vehicles confiscated at
Hastings Park", photo taken March 3, 1942 by Jack Lindsay.
City of Vancouver Archives CVA 1184-86