top of page

Mimi - Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site


I've been working with the Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site for almost two years, so it’s been pretty recent since I joined the team. Before this, I worked at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, which is just a few blocks from Britannia on the other side of Steveston Village.


Almost 10 years ago, I decided that I wanted to completely switch my career (from working in the travel trade). I was interested in the history of Steveston because it's so fascinating, and it’s where I have lived for many years. I knew that it was a historic fishing village and it had deep connection to Japanese Canadian history. I have a Japanese Canadian background, so I wanted to be more immersed and learn about this history and heritage because I really didn't know that much about it.

My parents immigrated here from Japan when I was a year old. Growing up, I had a really hard time knowing where I belonged. I didn't feel Canadian enough, but when I was in Japan, I didn’t feel Japanese enough. Steveston has had Japanese Canadians living here since the late 1800s, so they've been here for a long time, and I know that the early immigrants went through a lot. They were forcibly uprooted from the West Coast during World War II and sent to internment camps. I’ve always felt that these early immigrants paved the way for more recent immigrants like my family, so that we would have the right to vote and live more comfortably in Canada.

I wanted to learn more about these early immigrants to Canada and to do something to help preserve their history and share it with other people so that history wouldn't repeat itself. There’s so much you can learn from things that have happened in the past, and I think the best way to deal with not so great parts of our history is to make sure that it’s not repeated in the future. That’s one of the main reasons why I went into this field.

The Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site is hands down the most beautiful place to work. You get to work inside historic buildings, and when you step outside, you see the Fraser River and the tidal marsh. You see all the fishing boats going by—the birds, the wildlife, and the best sunsets ever. So the location itself is one of my favourite things about the job. My favourite artifact there is a fishing boat called the Silver Ann that's docked right at Britannia Shipyards. It's a little boat that was built in 1969, and was the last wooden fishing boat built at Britannia Shipyards (at Richmond Boat Builders) for a Japanese fisherman. I like the way it represents our local fishing history and especially the Japanese boat building history in Steveston.

Comments


bottom of page