We will be building Mearnie Summers’ Memorial Rock Garden

This is one of our feature projects to commemorate the Heiwa Garden’s 10th anniversary.

Heiwa Garden was conceived by Mearnie Summers in 2003 when she heard Rose Murakami’s talk about her family’s story at the SS Historical Society meeting. She spearheaded the creation of a Garden of Unity and Reconciliation with her partner Caffyn Kelly. The Society was formed in 2004, and the rest is history!

Mearnie was a remarkable person; an activist of gender inequality and LGBT rights, and a pioneer, teacher, and athlete. Sadly, she passed away in 2017. We would like to build a small rock garden in Heiwa Garden to commemorate her passion and keep her legacy alive.

JGS has started fundraising efforts to create this memorial corner.

Island Credit Union is setup to receive donations by e-transfer as autodeposits (no security question/answer needed).
The e-transfer address is info@saltspringjapanesegarden.com
It would be helpful to indicate the purpose of the donation as a note to us. Also if the donor would like to receive a tax receipt, please include a mailing address in the note.
If you are writing a cheque, please make it out to ‘Japanese Garden Society of Salt Spring Island’.
Our mailing address is:
Box 657, Ganges PO
Salt Spring Island  BC V8K 2W3

Japanese-Canadians weigh a harsh WWII experience — one that surpassed their U.S. cousins

This is a link to an article published by the Japan Times in September 2018 about how Japanese Canadians in BC were treated compared with their US counterpart.


Suitcase Project coming this Fall

What would the Japanese Canadian internment experience be like if something similar took place today?

While many may think it would be impossible for that to occur, it was only in 2016 when concerns were raised that a proposed U.S. surveillance program for Arabs and Muslims could lead to history repeating itself.

Photographer Kayla Isomura, who is a fourth-generation Japanese Canadian, sought to explore what that would be like for yonsei (fourth-generation) and gosei (fifth-generation) Japanese Canadians and Americans if they underwent the experience of relocation and internment in the present day.

After Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour, approximately 23,000 Japanese Canadians and over 100,000 Japanese Americans were removed from their homes along the North American West Coast and relocated to internment camps or farms.

For Isomura’s multimedia exhibit The Suitcase Project, over 80 individuals in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and Washington State, ranging from infants to 51-year-olds, participated.

All participants were forced to face the same predicament as Japanese Canadians did in 1942: they were given only 24- to 48-hour notice to choose which items they would take with them within weight restrictions.

During the internment in Canada, any remaining Japanese Canadian homes and possessions, including homes, businesses, properties, boats, personal items, and more, were seized by the Canadian government.

“In the Canadian context, Japanese Canadians were not allowed to return home and their possessions were sold by the government or looted,” Isomura stated in a news release. “The original idea wasn’t just about what or how people would pack, but also what they are forced to leave behind.”

by Craig Takeuchi on June 15th, 2018, The Georgia Straight.com


The Japanese Garden Society plans to bring to Salt Spring a travelling multimedia exhibit originally staged at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby in  2018. The exhibition details will be announced soon.Here is a review of the exhibit by Leah Collins of CBC Arts news.




9th Annual Blossom Picnic on Saturday May 11th

Blossom Picnic 2017
Japanese students attending the International Program of the Gulf Islands Secondary School helped Shinobu Murata to demonstrate calligraphy during the Blossom Picnic in 2017.

This year’s Blossom Picnic will be on Saturday May 11th from 11am to 3pm at Heiwa Garden in the Peace Park (opposite side of Artspring in Ganges, Salt Spring Island).

This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the opening of Heiwa Garden. Collaborating with the Japanese community on Salt Spring Island, we will create a festival that will be fun for everyone, featuring music, martial art demos, cultural presentations, and everybody’s favourite: home-style lunches.


Charcoal Pit Kiln Research Project

Galiano charcoal kiln

Kiln on Galiano on Bluff Park

We are very pleased to announce the launch of an exciting project to conduct research on the Japanese Canadian charcoal kilns of the Gulf Islands. We have received a one-time $24,000 grant from the BC | Canada 150: Celebrating B.C. Communities and their Contributions to Canada Fund offered by the BC Museum Association, and a one-time $2,500 grant from the Endowment Fund of the National Association of Japanese Canadians.

Continue reading “Charcoal Pit Kiln Research Project”

Japanese charcoal pit kilns located

Japanese charcoal pit kilns have been located in Mouat Park

The Japanese Garden Society is launching a new project in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Commission – the Restoration of the Japanese Charcoal Pit Kilns. As PARC has been such a great partner, we are feeling very hopeful about the project.

The society has started a fundraising campaign to raise funds to get the project moving. We recently received some good news that we’ve been chosen to receive grants from the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Salt Spring Foundation.

Go to Japanese Charcoal Kiln Restoration on our website for more details.