Globe & Mail: Deadline to save Kogawa's old home draws near – by Petti Fong


Globe & Mail: Deadline to save Kogawa's old home draws near – by Petti Fong

Yesterday I got home… after having a snack with
Joy, and watching the filming of the Global News story… I found a
message on my voice mail from Globe & Mail reporter Petti Fong,  
Darn… I missed another media quote opportunity! 


Constable Bob Underhill, Joy Kogawa and Todd Wong at the “Order of Canada / Flag Day” luncheon hosted by The Canadian Club – see story at

I really like that Petti included the quote “If everyone who had read Obasan donated $1, enough money would be raised to preserve the house.

I keep telling people… that I would prefer see 100,000 people donate $10 each rather than one person donate $1 Million Dollars.  Kogawa House is a community house.  It lives in Joy's novels Obasan and Naomi's Road.  It should be the community that saves it, uses it, and cherishes it. 

Please donate to Kogawa House by calling The Land Conservancy
Tell them Toddish McWong sent you….

Vancouver Office
5655 Sperling Avenue
Burnaby, BC V5E 2T2
Phone: 604.733.2313
Fax: 604.299.5054

Deadline to save Kogawa's old home draws near

VANCOUVER — Celebrated Canadian author Joy Kogawa has a deadline hanging over her.

By
the end of March, she's hoping that enough money will be raised to save
her childhood Vancouver home from demolition and turn it into a
writer-in-residence's retreat.

But with the
deadline just six weeks away, fundraising has reached just $160,000,
far below the $1.25-million needed to buy the house from the current
owners and maintain it as a writers' retreat.

“We're hopeful that more people will hear about this,” said Tamsin Baker, regional manager with the Land Conservancy.

Along with the conservancy, a Save Kogawa House Committee has been helping to raise money.
Although
Ms. Kogawa lived in the house in the Marpole area for just six years,
the bungalow has become a symbol for many far greater than a place
where a writer once lived.
In 1942, Ms. Kogawa and her
family were removed from Vancouver and interned in the Interior town of
Slocan. Like thousands of Japanese-Canadians, their property, including
the house in Marpole, was confiscated.

For
nearly 100 years, the bungalow has sat on West 64th Avenue. After Ms.
Kogawa's family was forcibly removed during the Second World War, a
succession of owners lived at the house.
But because of its place in literature, through Ms. Kogawa's novel Obasan, the bungalow is anchored in details of a life disturbed suddenly. In Obasan, Ms. Kogawa describes the fruit trees in the back, trees that remain to this day, and she remembers playing in the backyard.

When
city hall voted last November to delay demolition to allow for heritage
preservation efforts, fundraising began in earnest to keep the house
from being destroyed.

The current owners want to build a new house on the lot.

Ms.
Baker with the conservancy said donations ranging from $30 to thousands
have come in, but still more is needed. Faculty at Toronto's York
University have pledged $1,000 and urged other faculties across the
country to match or beat their donation.

Yesterday, Ms. Baker said, a $10,000 donation came in.

Ms.
Kogawa, who talked to students yesterday at a Canadian Club luncheon in
downtown Vancouver, said she's hoping for a miracle. “It's miraculous
enough that the house itself has survived for so long,” she added.

Recently someone suggested to her that if everyone who had read Obasan donated $1, enough money would be raised to preserve the house.

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