The Japanese Canadian War Memorial stands in a quiet grove in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, “in lasting memory of the 190* who answered the call of duty for Canada and to the 54 who laid down their lives in defence of freedom in the Great War.” Visit in the spring, if you can, when the surrounding cherry trees are in bloom.
The monument was dedicated on April 9, 1920, the third anniversary of the Vimy Ridge battle. The Canadian Japanese Association raised the $15,000 for the memorial. Designed by Vancouver architect James Benzie, a 34 foot Haddington Island white sandstone column rises from the base, topped by a marble Japanese-style lantern with a terra cotta roof. A bronze plaque on the column names the 54 soldiers killed in the war, another names those who returned. The base is a twelve-foot granite dodecagon. On each of twelve sections is the name of a battle in which the Japanese Canadians fought and the year.
Many Japanese Canadians wanting to show their patriotism to Canada were turned away from British Columbia recruiting halls and had to travel to Alberta to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force. After the war, they were still denied the right to vote in BC. The veterans themselves won the franchise in 1931, but it was not extended to other Canadians of Asian descent. And many Japanese Canadians were interred as enemy aliens during WW2.
*Subsequent research reveals over 220 Japanese Canadians served in the CEF.