Letter: Mayor: Proud of roots in Richmond

Dear Editor,

Re: “More than Chinese to be remembered,” Letters, Aug. 2.

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The letter from Morris McWhirter, reflects how Richmond, specifically Steveston, should celebrate all of Richmond’s diversity. In fact, amongst many of Steveston’s historic sites, there are several buildings and monuments that honour people from many cultures, all of whom contributed immensely to our history, growth and success.

For instance, the Britannia Shipyards National Historical Site demonstrates living conditions prior to 1941 in the restored Japanese Murakami House. Similarly, the Murakami Boatworks outlines the family history of Asayo and Otokichi Murakami.

The Richmond Boat Builders and Boat Yard was originally built during the Depression as a Japanese-Canadian boat-building facility.

This restored building is currently used for boat repairs and restoration.

The Seine Net Loft explores the stories of Steveston’s changing waterfront as well as the people from many cultures who worked together.

Capital development and interpretation plans are in the works for the Japanese Duplex and the First Nations Bunkhouse.

All are in addition to the restored Chinese Bunkhouse, which highlights the stories of Chinese cannery workers.

Throughout Steveston Village is the Nikkei Stories series, an interactive self-guided walk comprising 10 short films on Japanese Canadian history in the village.

Elsewhere in Steveston, the Japanese Fishermen’s Benevolent Society building located behind the Museum and Post Office highlights interpretation of Japanese Canadian life in Steveston until their forced evacuation during WWII.

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and the Marital Arts Centre are located next to the Steveston Community Centre.

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery, another National Historic site, focuses on the evolution of the commercial fishing industry on Canada’s west coast. 

The important integration of Japanese, Indigenous and Chinese cultures in Steveston’s fishing industry is outlined in Cannery tours, exhibits and artifacts.

A current exhibit: Pull of the Net, features the Indigenous fisheries.

The Richmond Museum’s current online exhibition, In Their Words: The Story of BC Packers tells the story of BC Packers and its predecessors, which operated the Imperial Cannery in Steveston. For nearly 100 years, men and women of diverse origin – First Nations, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian and European among others – worked side by side to harvest and process the produce from the sea.

Richmond city council and staff are proud of the city’s commitment to recognizing and communicating our diverse roots.

Malcolm D. Brodie


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