Canadian Press: Canada's leading writer's groups ask Ottawa for grant to save historic house

Canada's leading writers' groups ask Ottawa for grant to save historic house

Published: Monday, February 27, 2006

VANCOUVER (CP) – Canada's leading writers' groups are appealing to the
federal government for an emergency grant of $350,000 to save the
childhood home of novelist and poet Joy Kogawa.

Kogawa was six in 1942 when she and her family were forcibly removed
from their Vancouver home by the Canadian government during the Second
World War. The government used the War Measures Act to send 22,000
Japanese-Canadians to one of two internment camps in British Columbia
because they were considered enemies of Canada.

The Kogawa home was auctioned off without the family's consent and has been bought and sold several times since then.

The current owner wants to demolish the house and build a bigger one.

Vancouver city council has delayed issuing a demolition permit until
March 31 so the Land Conservancy of B.C. can raise $1.25 million to buy
the house and restore it for writers in residence.

The conservancy is supported by over a dozen organizations,
including the Writers' Union of Canada, the Writers' Trust of Canada
and the League of Canadian Poets.

So far, the groups have raised $170,000

, but Bill Turner, executive director of the Land Conservancy, said money continues to trickle in.

Supporters of the Save the Joy Kogawa House Committee say the simple
wood-frame house that was featured in Kogawa's award-winning book
Obasan needs to be saved as a symbol of Canadian history.

The committee is calling on all four major political parties for support.

Turner said he's trying to set up a meeting with Heritage Minister Beverley Oda.

“We're moving through the process but we don't have a lot of time
and of course, the government is just getting itself established so
it's an unfortunate time to have this,” Turner said.

“We have tremendous support but a lot of these (writers) are not very wealthy so that's one of the challenges.”

Several fundraising events, including one in Toronto on March 9, are
helping to get the word out about the campaign, Turner said.

© The Canadian Press 2006

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