The Land Cconservancy joins community efforts to save Joy Kogawa's childhood home

TLC Joins Community Efforts to Save Joy Kogawa's Childhood Home


December 2, 2005

VANCOUVER, BC – Community efforts to save Joy Kogawa’s
childhood home from the wrecking ball moved into a new phase today as
The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (TLC) has agreed to lead the
campaign to acquire the house and secure its protection.

“The Kogawa house is a very important part of British
Columbia’s heritage,” said TLC’s Executive Director Bill Turner, “and
we are determined to see it protected.  As of today, we have only 118
days to raise the funds needed to achieve this.  We will need to raise
$1.25 million to ensure the future of this site, and we’ll be getting
to work immediately.”

The Kogawa house is located in the Marpole neighbourhood of
Vancouver, and was the childhood home of noted Canadian author Joy
Kogawa.  She and her family were removed from the home in 1942 as part
of the Government’s policy of internment of Canadians of Japanese
ancestry during World War II.” Kogawa’s celebrated novel Obasan
is a powerful and heart-rending story of that internment and features
the house prominently as part of her childhood recollections.  It has
been listed by the Literary Review of Canada as one of the 100 most important Canadian books ever written.

Inspired by the Save Kogawa House Committee, many community
groups such as the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, Heritage Vancouver
and the Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture and other cultural
organizations like the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Federation of
BC Writers have come together to support the protection of Kogawa
House.  On November 3 they were able to convince the City of Vancouver
to delay a demolition permit on the house for 120 days (effective
November 30) to give the community time to raise the funds to buy it. 
This followed the symbolic planting at City Hall of a graft from the
cherry tree at Kogawa House, as Mayor Larry Campbell proclaimed Obasan Cherry Tree Day on November 1.

“I am so touched by the way the community has rallied to protect
this house that holds such symbolic importance for me – and for so many
others,” said Joy Kogawa.  “I just wonder when I'm going to wake up
from this dream of miracles.”

Committee spokesperson Ann-Marie Metten said “We are delighted
that The Land Conservancy is taking on this project.  As British
Columbia’s National Trust they have the expertise to know what needs to
be done and the ability to do it.  They have a great record of success
in similar projects around the Province and we all believe that by
working together we will be successful here too.”

TLC’s Turner said that the fundraising campaign is underway. 
“We are calling on everyone who has been moved by Joy Kogawa’s writing
to contribute to saving the house.  Your contribution will not only
recognize and honour Joy’s accomplishments but will also provide the
opportunity for a writers-in-residence program that will enable a new
generation of writers to be inspired by her work.  We are also calling
on everyone who has been touched by Canada’s past treatment of
communities such as the Japanese-Canadian community.  This house will
stand as a symbol of the wrongs that were committed in the past, but
also as a symbol of what a community can achieve when it pulls

Donations can be made to The Land Conservancy through our website at, or by calling our Lower Mainland Office at (604) 733-2312 or our Head Office in Victoria at (250) 479-8053.


Contacts:   For TLC   Bill Turner   (250) 213-1090
  Tamsin Baker   (604) 722-2313
  For the Save Kogawa House Committee
  Anne-Marie Metten   (604) 263-6586
  Todd Wong   (604) 240-7090
  Anton Wagner   (416) 863-1209

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