Squaw House and Melbourne Hotel

Friday, September 2, 2011
Squaw House and Melbourne Hotel


Japanese Loggers in Seymour

Although this particular spot in North Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR) looks like nothing out of the ordinary, the site represents an important piece of British Columbia’s history.
This is where Muckle and a team of 15 archaeology students uncovered a Japanese logging camp dating back to the 1920s.


Records show that in 1900, one out of four workers in British Columbia’s logging industry was Japanese. Even Japanese fishermen often relied on logging to offset the seasonal nature of fisheries work.

While the Japanese are recognized as pioneers in B.C.’s fishing industry, relatively little is known about their contributions and involvement in the province’s seminal logging industry.

“Digging Up the Past” by Alexa Love
Roots section
“Pacific Rim Magazine” in 2011

Diane, do you remember the above article?

Yes, I do.  I gave the copy to you the other day.  What’s the matter with the above article?

Since I received it, I’ve been wondering why the Japanese were logging in the mountains of North Vancouver around the turn of the century. There must have been more lucrative town jobs.

I suppose, the Japanese couldn’t obtain town jobs due to the racial discrimination.

Yes, that may be the reason, but you know, Diane, a great number of Japanese fishermen lived and worked in Steveston in those old days.

Yes, I know.

Then how come they didn’t join the fishermen in Steveston?

Probably because too many fishermen were working in Steveston, they couldn’t get the jobs. So they moved up to the logging camp in North Vancouver, I suppose.

You’re right, Diane.  Anyway I’ve been still wondering on and off since then, and come across a certain book at the central library.

What book is it?

The following book.

“The above infomation from Vancouver Public Library”

This is a quite interesting book.

What is so interesting?

I read the following part:

Tragedy on Don Island

Shima Oikawa was born on Don Island, which is actually a located near the estuary of the Fraser River. Near Don Island is a much larger island called Annacis Island. Shima Oikawa had lived on Don Island until May 1917, when she went back to Japan. She was thirteen old.


One day, Shima told me about a tragedy, in which her older brother, Eiji, was drowned in the Fraser River. It took place on May 1912. Eiji was ten yeras old; Shima was eight.

“I don’t know how it happened,” said Shima Oikawa. “My brother was a clever and careful person. There were no eye-witnesses. My father said that my brother might have fallen from a boat when he climed over it.”

“When Eiji failed to come back home late in the evening,” continued Shima, “my mother started looking for him, but in vain. All my neighbors on the island became agitated by the news. Soon afterwards a white man living near the estuary in Steveston found a floating body and realized that it was a corpse of a Japanese boy. He reported to the police.

Since the death of Eiji, my mother had been sick in bed for quite some time. She couldn’t even attend his funeral. At long last she regained some health, but she came to hate the river and became quite maddened when she heard even the slightest sound of the river. My mother used to be a tough and vigorous woman. Since the incident, however, she became weak, and sometimes she was sleep-walking. Even though she seemed fast-sleeping, she suddenly got up and called his dead son, “Eiji! Eiji!”, and then she dashed to the river bank.

Only eight years old, I was really scared by my mother’s state of mind, and was grievingly worried. Yet, I didn’t know what to do to help my mother. I was at a total loss. Since my father told me to keep an eye on my mother all the time, I did so by all means.”

SOURCE: pp. 125-127
“Lost Scenes” by Takao Yamagata
Published on November 15, 1996

125 – 127ページ 『失われた風景』
著者: 山形孝夫
1996年11月15日 第1刷発行
発行所: 株式会社 未来社


It’s a quite sad story, isn’t it?

Yes, it is.

What made you bring up the story?

Shima’s father was a famous man among the Japanese immigrants.  Have you noticed, Diane, I wrote a comment about the book:

If you’re a Japanese living in Vancouver, this book is a must to read.
You know what?
You’ll be amazed to know that there are so many adventurous Japanese folks in the Meiji era.
They came to Canada with a hope to see better days and a determination to get away from the miserable situation in Japan.
I honestly felt for those eighty-plus poor yet encourageous folks including three young women.
You can read an unbelievable story about illicit-immigration attempt.

The story was reported by the Victoria Daily Colonist on October 21, 1906.
It goes like this: the Japanese schooner Suian Maru was yesterday seized by the authorities because of an alleged attempt to run a schooner-load of Japanese into Canada via Beecher Bay.
Nine of the Japanese surreptitiously landed were arrested at Parson’s bridge and the provincial and city police are in pursuit of others, some of whom have reached Victoria and are in hiding.

I’m quite positive that you won’t be disappointed.
So, if you’ve got some time, simply borrow this book and read it.
Mind you, this book is written in Japanese! :)

To be exact, eighty-three Japanese landed on Vancouver Island illegally, and they were all arrested.

Wow!   It must have been an astonishing crime in the community at the time.

Oh yes, it was indeed. It created a big commotion and the newspaper went like this:

But how come you brought up the above newspaper article?  Shima’s father has something to do with the avove incident?

Oh yes, he has.  He was the one who had organized the above attempt.  His name is Jinzaburo, who immigrated to Canada ten years earlier.  He was a hard worker and saved enough money to purchase Don Island, which he called “Oikawa Island” after his family name.

Amazing!  Did he really purchase the iasland only after ten years of hard work?

You believe it or not, it was the historical fact.  Jinzaburo tried to build a cannery and needed some hard-working Japanese workers for fishing and canning.

So did he go back to Japan to recruit 83 workers?

Yes, he went back to his home village in Miyagi prefecture to recruit those 83 prople, who were mostly poor farmers.

Diane, do you recognize the above map?

Yes, I do.  It’s the map for the Fukushima disaster, wasn’t it?

Yes, it is.  Jinzaburo’s village is near Sendai, where I entered the university.

Are you saying that Jinzaburo studied at the same university?

Oh no, he didn’t.

Then how come you showed the university map?

A good question?  You see, Diane, three women were among the illegal Japanese migrants.  One of them was a wife of one farmer.

How about other two?

They were daughters of the lady-owner of the Japanese inn shown in the above map.

Why did they decide to immigrate into Canada?

The older sister, Aki, was a single mother with a small daughter born out of marriage.  Aki’s boyfriend ran away at the news of a coming baby. In the early twentieth century, a single unmarried mother was a big burden and an unerasable disgrace to any family. The baby was forced to be adopted by a childless couple as the custome at the day. So distressed yet determined, Aki decided to start a new life in Canada. Since Aki’s mother personally knew Jinzabro, she asked him to take two sisters with him to Canada.

But how come two sisters decided to go to Canada together?

A good question!…’cause Aki disgraced the family, Aki’s sister, Natsu, would have no suitors in the future. That’s what she thought and Natsu decided to accompany Aki to Canada.

What a sad motive!

Well, Natsu thought that she would have no future as long as she stayed in her home town.  So she also tried to start a new life overseas.

My goodness!  What a sad story!

You believe it or not, Diane, both sisters worked hard as a house maid and saved enough money to purchase Melbourne Hotel on Main Street near False Creek.


I’m not kidding nor jesting, Diane.   This is a historical fact.

Amazing!  But what’s got to do with the article on top of this page?

According to the book, those illegal immigrants were originally to be sent back to Japan. But the officials of the consulate general of Japan in Vancouver discussed the matter with the Canadian authorities, who were pursuaded to give those 83 illicit migrants a special landed-immigrant status. All the workers started to work on Oikawa Island—the present Don Island. They lived in squaw houses, which are floating log houses on the river.

Compared to the top picture, this squaw house looks quite shabby, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does.  Although it looks small, it is quite useful because it is hauled by a tugr boat to any place on the river for salmon-fishing.  Off season, the squaw house was hauled on the Fraser River and then on Burrard Inlet to the logging camp in North Vancouver.

So the loggers desribed in the top article were actually some of Jinzaburo’s men, weren’t they?

Yes, I would say so.  If you have never visited Steveston, here is a video clip for you to view.

2011 Canada Day Parade

in Steveston, Richmond

Steveston, Richmond

(BC Packers Museum)

You can also take a glimpse of what the surrounding area of the logging site looks like?

Lynn Canyon waterfall

in North Vancouver

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

【Himiko’s Monologue】

Wow! What a scary bridge!
I visited the famous Capilano bridge when I stayed in Vancouver.
Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is just like Capilano Bridge—a bit smaller scale model, but free of charge.
So, when you plan to go to Vancouver, visit Lynn Canyon Bridge, instead of Capilano Bridge.

Traveling overseas is one thing; romance is another.

Come to think of it, I’ve never met a decent man in my life.
How come I’m always a loner?
I wish I could meet a nice gentleman at the library in my town as Diane met Kato.
Well, they say, there is a way where there is a will.

Have a nice day!
Bye bye …


“Queen Nefertiti”

“Catherine de Medici”

“Catherine the Great”

“Mata Hari”

“Sidonie Colette”

“Marilyn Monroe”

“Hello Diane!”

“I wish you were there!”

“Jane Eyre”

“Jane Eyre Again”

“Jane Eyre in Vancouver”

“Jane Eyre Special”

“Love & Death of Cleopatra”

“Nice Story”


“Spiritual Work or What?”

“What a coincidence!”

“Wind and Water”

“Yoga and Happiness”

“You’re in a good shape”




“Net Travel & Jane”

“Net Love”

“Complicated Love”

“Electra Complex”

“Net Début”

“Inner World”

“Madame Riviera and Burger”

“Roly-poly in the North”

“Amazing Grace”

“Diane in Paris”

“Diane in Montmartre”

“Diane Well Read”

“Wantirna South”

“Maiden’s Prayer”





■ 『きれいになったと感じさせる


■ 『ちょっと変わった 新しい古代日本史』

■ 『面白くて楽しいレンゲ物語』

■ 『カナダのバーナビーと軽井沢に


■ 『今すぐに役立つホットな情報』

■ 『 ○ 笑う者には福が来る ○ 』










Hi, I’m June Adames.

I like a leisurely stroll

while listening to nice music

such as “Sous le Ciel de Paris.”

Sous le Ciel de Paris

by Hideshi Kibi(日本人)

You can find some Japanese musicians in Paris.

Fujiko Hemming also likes Édith Piaf

who sings “Sous le ciel de Paris.”

Sous le ciel de Paris

by Édith Piaf

I like Chanson Française (French song).

How about you?

Kato also love Édith Piaf,

but he considers Juliette Greco’s

“Sous le Ciel de Paris” much beter.

Sous le Ciel de Paris

by Juliette Greco

I believe Yves Montand’s “Sous le Ciel de Paris” is the best of all.

Sous le Ciel de Paris

by Yves Montand

I love Paris, but Vancouver isn’t bad at all.

To tell you the truth, Vancouver is a paradise to me.

Kato thinks that Vancouver is better than Paris.


Here’s a Japanese proverb.

If I translate it literally, it means this:

The lighthouse does not

shine on its base.

It also means this:

The darkest place is

under the candlestick.

I’m pretty sure that your birthplace is a paradise to you.










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