You have all probably seen them – large blue heritage markers located at highway rest areas or points of interest throughout Alberta. These interpretive signs tell of Alberta’s rich heritage. Come, travel Alberta and read a featured heritage marker:
Most of the first Japanese to reach Alberta were contract or temporary workers on railway and irrigation projects. Others worked in the sugar beet fields near Raymond. By 1906, however, a few Japanese had settled permanently in Alberta. The largest early Japanese settlements in Alberta were at Redwater, Raymond and Hardieville, a mining community north of Lethbridge. After 1914, some Japanese women joined their husbands in Alberta, though the community remained very small. At the outbreak of World War II there were just 540 Japanese Canadians living in Alberta.
The war transformed the Japanese community in Alberta. In 1942, people of Japanese descent were prevented from living within 160 kilometers (100 miles) of the Pacific coast. Many were forced into internment camps or to resettle in southern Alberta. After the war, some returned to British Columbia, but others stayed. Together with new post-war immigrants from Japan, they have become one of Alberta’s most dynamic cultural communities.
This heritage marker is located west of Raymond on the north side of Highway 52, 1.1km west of Highway 844.