Community News & Events / explorASIAN / VAHMS Partnerships

180 visitors attend Lillooet unveiling ceremony

Over 180 people attended an unveiling ceremony on Friday May 11 at the site of the former East Lillooet Internment Camp, located at the corner of Highway 12 and Sumner Road. This included  150 from out-of-town, plus 150 local Lillooet schoolchildren.

Many travelled from all across B.C. as well as Alberta, Toronto and Kingston, Ont. and Seattle and Chicago in the USA.

Dignitaries included former Mike Leach, former chair of the St’át’imc Chiefs Council, Japanese Consul General Asako Okai, Lillooet Mayor Marg Lampman and local MLA Jackie Tegart, plus the last surviving member of the Vancouver Asahi, Koichi Kaminishi,

The event was organised by Laura and Debra Saimoto on behalf of the Japanese Canadian Legacy Project Committee.  The Saimotos’ parents grew up in the East Lillooet camp. Relatives on their mother’s side lived in Bridge River and East Lillooet and relatives on their father’s side lived in Minto in the Bridge River Valley.

Jeff Chan, Linda Chan and Jeff Wilson attended the Ceremony on behalf of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society.


VIPs at the unveiling ceremony, many of whom are former Internees

Laura Saimoto

Laura Saimoto, who organised the Ceremony to unveil the monument commemorating the East Lillooet Internment Camp


Monument commemorating the Japanese-Canadians interned at the East Lillooet Camp

Heritage Marker

Official BC Heritage marker, commemorating the Internment Camps around East Lillooet

Consul and Asahi Player

Japanese Consul General Okai and Former Vancouver Asahi player Koichi Kaminishi.

Mike Leach

Mike Leach, former chair of the St’át’imc Chiefs Council