Slocan City was one of the internment camps for the 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were forcibly uprooted, dispossessed and incarcerated during the Second World War. There were 595 Japanese Canadians in the camp area at the end of 1942. As in other internment camps located in small B.C. towns, people were housed in old hotels, old buildings, and mine houses to live. Slocan was also a departure point for those who were sent to Japan in 1946.
The Japanese cemetery monument in Slocan is the only remaining sign of the Japanese-Canadian internment in Slocan during World War II.
With over 1,851 people, Lemon Creek was the largest of the nine West Kootenay internment camps constructed during World War II. Forced-work crews built 268 two-family cabins, most 28 by 14 feet, each with two cubicle-sized bedrooms and a kitchen in between. The camp was completed in 1942-43, and was closed and dismantled in 1946.
Over 1,000 Japanese Canadians were interned at the government-leased farm of Emilie and Konstantine Popoff during World War II. This was the last internment camp built, completed in 1943. Nearly 100 buildings were erected, both small family cabins and large dormitories. The large bunkhouses were for work crews and later adapted for the elderly, bachelors, and single people. One became a school. The camp was dismantled in 1946.
Bay Farm held 1,376 Japanese Canadians by the end of 1942. Temporary tents were set up and then shacks were built in rows. Along with Lemon Creek and Popoff, this was one of the key internment camps in the lower Slocan Valley. Famous Japanese Canadians who attended Pine Crescent School in Bay Farm include architect Raymond Moriyama, environmentalist David Suzuki, and writer Joy Kogawa.