BC Heritage Sites

Funding Available

The purpose of this program is to assist local communities in British Columbia in promoting public awareness of pre-war and wartime Japanese Canadian history through interpretive heritage projects at sites of their ancestral communities and other places of historical significance. Projects to commemorate such places will have an enduring value. This fund is intended to help make some of these now mostly invisible sites visible to new generations of British Columbians so that they may learn to appreciate the lasting legacy of Japanese Canadians in British Columbia. These legacies include state-sanctioned racism that led to unjust treatment before, during and after the war. Initiatives may include projects that promote memorialization, conservation and/or education of Japanese Canadian history tailored to a region within the province of British Columbia.

For Japanese Canadians, it is important to our community, and to our collective healing, that we preserve these stories and acknowledge the places that, prior to uprooting, the Japanese Canadian community called home – the places where we flourished and raised our families and built our businesses, and the places where we experienced and overcame adversity. Commemorating and celebrating our historic places — most of which remain under-recognized and underserved — is long overdue. It is at the heart of our community’s work to reclaim our history and rebuild connections to our heritage in British Columbia.


The first recorded immigrants from Japan arrived in British Columbia in the late 19th century. Over several decades, Canadians of Japanese ancestry established communities, homes and livelihoods throughout the province. Resource-based jobs, retail/mercantile enterprises, lodging houses, language schools, churches and temples once underpinned the vibrant economic life and culture of Japanese Canadians in this province. There were thriving farms on the coastal islands, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan Interior and elsewhere. Steveston was a well-known fishing/boat-building/canning centre, yet it was only one of many coastal communities of Japanese Canadians, including Prince Rupert and communities even further north. In 1942 there was the forced dispossession, expulsion, incarceration, internment, banishment and/or deportation of more than 22,000 individuals. A second uprooting, postwar, erased Japanese Canadians almost entirely from the province, exiling almost 4,000 Japanese Canadians to Japan in 1946. Mass dispossession continued for a decade into the early 1950s.

Most internment camps of the 1940s were razed, leaving almost no evidence of their existence today. Little physical evidence of ordinary Japanese Canadian lives throughout the province remains. Much of this history remains invisible to British Columbians today and, in particular, histories tied to lesser-known or non-urban sites that have been overshadowed by larger hubs of pre-war Japanese Canadian activity such as Pauerugai (Powell Street) in Vancouver, Steveston, and later the internment sites in British Columbia’s interior.

Categories of Funding

There are two categories of funding under the BC Heritage Sites Program, both of which have a pre-approval mechanism:

Category 1

Category 1 grants are for Predetermined BC Heritage Sites, intended to assist in the development and implementation of earmarked BC Heritage Site capital projects in Maple Ridge, Surrey, Nanaimo, Chemainus, Cumberland/Comox Valley, Prince Rupert, Tashme, Ucluelet and the Gulf Islands (Gabriola, Galiano, Mayne and Salt Spring islands) as well as Miyazaki House (Lillooet), Hastings Park and Powell Street (Vancouver) and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. There must be an interpretive education plan built into the planning of Category 1 projects.

The list of sites is subject to review and change.

Category 2

Category 2 grants will assist with Regional Heritage Projects that create, refurbish, recognize or protect Japanese Canadian heritage resources.

Dates (Subject to Change)

Guidelines available August 1, 2023

Applications available September 1, 2023

Deadline for applications on or before March 1, 2024. Late applications will only be accepted on a prearranged and per case basis with the approval of the BC Heritage Sites Program Coordinators and CEO.

NOTE: Approved proposals will move forward once completed applications are processed.

Projects, including final report, must be completed by March 1, 2027.


BC Heritage Site or Japanese Canadian Heritage Site

A structure, building, group of buildings, district, landscape or other place in British Columbia of historical significance to Japanese Canadians either pre-war or during the internment era. A heritage site could also include a legally protected community heritage resource, an area where pre-war Japanese Canadian populations were concentrated, an internment camp site, etc.

Capital Purchase

Any single purchase of $5,000 or more of goods or equipment that have a useful life beyond one year. Capital purchases must also be individual, stand-alone, movable, tangible items or intangible assets.


All actions or processes that are aimed at safeguarding the character-defining elements of a cultural resource so as to retain its heritage value and extend its physical life. This may involve preservation and restoration; or a combination of these actions or processes.

  • Preservation The action or process of protecting, maintaining and/or stabilizing the existing materials, form and integrity of a heritage resource.
  • Restoration The action or process of accurately revealing, recovering or representing the state of a heritage resource as it appeared at a particular period of history. (See Heritage B.C. (2022). Heritage Legacy Fund Program Guidelines & Policies 2022, pp. 20-21.)

Heritage Awareness (re Assessment Criteria below)

Activities or projects that are aimed at raising the awareness and understanding of Japanese Canadian history.

Heritage Resources

Both human and natural resources created by activities from the past that remain to inform present and future societies of that past. This may include heritage buildings, structures, sites, cemeteries, districts and cultural landscapes, or intangible heritage such as language and customs.

Internment Era

The years 1942 to 1949.

Japanese Canadian (JC)

A Canadian citizen of Japanese ancestry, or a person of Japanese ancestry who has permanent residency or landed immigrant status in Canada.

 Japanese Canadian History

The study of past events connected with persons of Japanese descent in Canada, with particular emphasis on the Internment Era in British Columbia.

Memorialization or Commemoration

Activities or projects that aim to preserve and honour Japanese Canadian history.


A municipality can be either a town, village, district, township or city.


A not-for-profit organization that has an established constitution and by-laws and has been incorporated for at least two years. An organization can also be incorporated under a BC corporations Act without the distinction of a not-for-profit designation.

Partnership with a Municipality

Partnership with a Municipality refers to a formal agreement between an Organization and a municipality to develop and complete a BC Heritage Site.

Who can apply

Only Organizations and/or Partnerships with Municipalities can apply.

  • The Organization can be either a not-for-profit organization or an organization incorporated under a BC corporations Act without the distinction of a not-for-profit designation.
  • The Organization must have an established constitution and by-laws.
  • Organizations must have been incorporated for at least two years before the application submission deadline of March 1, 2024.

Organizations must have letters of support from local Japanese Canadian communities if applicable or from the community at large in their area.

Organizations must demonstrate that they have the relevant experience to manage the project they are proposing.

NOTE: Organizations must demonstrate that the project is able to be maintained after its completion.

What can be funded

Only Japanese Canadian Heritage Sites in British Columbia are eligible for funding.

Category 1Predetermined / Up to $400,000

  • These grants are for projects which were predetermined as eligible regional and/or organizational applicants. The grants are intended to assist in further project planning and implementation of projects at earmarked heritage sites. Project locations have been identified in the following regions:
    • Maple Ridge, Surrey, Nanaimo, Chemainus, Cumberland/Comox Valley, Prince Rupert, Tashme, Ucluelet and the Gulf Islands (Gabriola, Galiano, Mayne and Salt Spring islands) as well as Miyazaki House (Lillooet), Hastings Park and Powell Street (Vancouver) and the Vancouver Japanese Language School. JCLS will allow for additional projects to be developed in this stream if funding permits.

These projects should be large in scale with sites able to provide space where the public can gather and learn. Demonstration of the estimated metric of foot traffic to the site may be required.

Category 2 | Regional Heritage Sites / Projects Below $150,000

  • These grants are to assist smaller interpretive heritage projects that create, refurbish, recognize or protect Japanese Canadian heritage resources, including gardens, cemeteries and internment sites.
  • Preference may be given to projects that are formally recognized as Japanese Canadian Heritage Sites (pre-war or internment era) or legally protected community heritage resources or areas where pre-war Japanese Canadian populations were concentrated.
What will not be funded
  • Projects outside of British Columbia.
  • Ongoing operations and capital maintenance.
  • New ongoing maintenance costs related to the project.
  • Any work NOT related to the heritage project.
  • Other work deemed inappropriate at the discretion of the JCLS.
  • Expenses for debt management.
  • Projects that have received NAJC funding through the Capacity Building Program, Cultural Development Fund or Endowment Fund.
  • Projects that have received other funds from the JCLS.
  • Projects that are already complete at the application date.
Funding Requests
  • Category 1 – Predetermined / Projects up to $400,000
    • Funding of up to $400,000 per project.
    • Each organization may apply for only one grant in the BC Heritage Sites Program, under either category 1 or 2.

    Category 2 – Regional Heritage Sites / Projects Below $150,000

    • Funding below $150,000 per project.
    • Each organization may apply for only one grant in the BC Heritage Sites Program, under either category 1 or 2.

    Categories 1 and 2

    1. These grants will assist in the planning, building and completion of Japanese Canadian Heritage Site projects in British Columbia.
    2. The requested funds must support the development and completion of the project. If other sources of funding are required to complete the project, these sources must be confirmed at the time of the application.
    3. Eligible expenses may include:
      1. Architectural drawings and/or surveys
      2. Buildings – new construction, renovations and/or preservation, interior/exterior conservation work, building code and safety upgrading
      3. Structures – conservation of peripheral outbuildings or structures, e.g., barns, sheds, bridges
      4. Historical markers, e.g., signage, monuments, plaques
      5. Restoration of gardens and cemeteries
      6. Archival research (please note that the Nikkei National Museum is available to provide paid consultative services in this area)
      7. Interpretive panels
      8. Permanent exhibits or displays
      9. Production of documents – brochures, maps, educational materials, printed guides for tours
      10. Walking or driving tours (only if part of a larger project)
      11. Refurbishment of sites
      12. Capital purchases
      13. Special or distinctive design costs
      14. Construction materials, supplies and related costs
      15. Contracts and fees for tradespeople
      16. Replacement equipment and its installation
      17. Delivery costs of building materials
      18. Equipment purchases and/or rentals
      19. Dumping and disposal fees
      20. Temporary rental of another facility while the work is being done
      21. Storage space while the work is being done
      22. Landscaping costs
      23. Unveiling ceremonies

    If you are unsure about the eligibility of an expense, please contact the JCLS Heritage Program Coordinator: heritage@jclegacies.com.

    Projects must be completed by March 1, 2027.

What is needed for the application

NOTE: Applicants are responsible for submitting a complete application.

Categories 1 and 2

  1. If two or more organizations are presenting a joint application, the application should be submitted by the primary applicant in a partnership, who must demonstrate that they can develop and execute the project.
  2. Applicants must complete the following information, including longer answers as required:
    • Description of the Applicant Organization, including its mission statement, a brief history of the organization and its current activities. Please indicate how you will be working with the Japanese Canadian community. (Maximum 300 words.)
    • Description of the project. Upload two separate documents: 1) Project title, location of heritage site, project summary and scope of work, including how the project will increase awareness or understanding of Japanese Canadian history. 2) Detailed project timeline from start to finish, including key milestones and anticipated delivery dates. (Maximum 3 pages/300 words per page, per document.)
    • Description of the historical background and significance. Briefly relate the Japanese Canadian historical significance of the project or the site and why it is important. State whether the resource is listed on a heritage registry and legally protected and/or whether there is an intention to obtain heritage status. Applicant must agree to a review of their project content and consult with archival research experts to verify accurate historical information.
      (Maximum 300 words.)
    • Statement of impact. State the project outcomes, the target audience and how the project improves the community in which it is set. State the plan to engage the Japanese Canadian community and the larger local community. (Maximum 300 words.)
    • Balanced budget using supplied template showing projected sources of funding and projected expenses (provide the breakdown/rationale for estimated expenses that comprise 10% or more of the budget). If project costs exceed the maximum possible grant, a list of confirmed sources of additional funding must also accompany this budget. List both hard and soft costs, including in-kind contributions. Provide two contractor quotes on supplier letterhead for work exceeding 10% of the budget. Exempt from the two quotes are the key project personnel: project manager, writer, researcher, exhibit designer, landscape designer, heritage consultant. Include work permits, if applicable. The tax column serves as a guideline only for applicants. It is important to note that the grant contribution will include the total budget inclusive of estimated taxes and within the threshold of the grant.
    • Description of project management. Describe how the project will be managed. List key personnel (if known) with a short description of the expertise/experience they bring to the project. Please describe the organization’s internal capacity and expertise to manage and execute the project. If a municipality, describe how the local Japanese Community will be engaged.
      (Maximum 3 pages/300 words per page.)
    • Description of how the heritage site project will be maintained once the project is completed. The description must include details on how ongoing maintenance and sustainability beyond the one-time award of these funds will be established. (NOTE: This is an important criterion for project assessment.)
    • Proof of Support for BC Heritage Site Project Location
      Applicant must provide proof of ownership of the site. For situations in which the applicant does not own the site, the applicant must provide evidence of a perpetual lease or management agreement with the site owner. The site owner must commit to the project and its enduring heritage value in British Columbia. If the project is a partnership, include a supporting cover letter from the partner and a contract setting out the promised agreement. (Maximum 3 pages/300 words per page plus support documentation)
    • Provide attestation to consult with host First Nations (see Consultation Requirements below).

Applicants must also provide:

  1. a copy of their Certificate of Incorporation
  2. the most recent financial statements from the last two years
  3. any relevant supporting documents such as historic details, architectural plans, archival and current photographs of the heritage site
  4. any reference letters of support from the Japanese Canadian community or community at large in the area.

Category 1 (Category 2 only if applicable) Additional Information

  1. Description of the foot traffic to the location. Foot traffic metrics may be requested to support the impact of the project.
  2. Description of the risks associated with the project (e.g., project readiness, technologies, multiple partners, land acquisition, skilled labour shortages, extreme weather, etc.) as well as corresponding mitigation measures. (Maximum 3 pages/300 words per page.)
  3. Insurance coverage. Grant recipients must have sufficient insurance coverage and provide a certificate of insurance naming the JCLS as an additional insured and these requirements apply to contractors working on the project.
Consultation Requirements
    It is the responsibility of the project team to follow engagement protocols with host First Nations in the respective region, both protocols of blessings/permission and protocols of land acknowledgment.
  3. CONSULTATION PROCESS MUST INVOLVE JAPANESE CANADIANS if they are not part of the project team and effort must be made to include input from any local area Japanese Canadians if applicable.
Assessment Criteria

All applications will be assessed according to the following criteria.

  1. Feasibility Based on the application, long-term viability (including maintenance), supporting documents and budget as presented.
  2. Strength of Project The degree of innovation, sustainability and creativity; a strategic benefit plan for heritage awareness in the local community.
  3. Public Awareness The organization’s ability to reach a wide audience in the promotion of Japanese Canadian history in the specific region of British Columbia.
  4. Community Support The level of local partnerships and support or endorsement of the project by the Japanese Canadian community or the local community at large.
Assessment Process
  1. The JCLS receives proposals through the website application portal, once the BC Heritage Sites team has screened the project for its ‘community support’ and ‘public awareness. 
  2. The JCLS will notify each applicant that their application has been received.
  3. Once the application has been accepted for review it will be initially reviewed by an independent Assessment Team 
  4. The BC Heritage Sites Program Coordinator will work with the applicant to update the application with amended documentation to suit the approval of the Assessment Team.
  5. The Assessment Team provides final approval.
  6. The JCLS executes grant agreements.

All decisions of the JCLS and Assessment Team are final.

  • Decisions will be made by the JCLS and the Assessment Team within approximately six weeks of the application deadline. Notification will be sent via the online system to the contact linked to the online application. Results cannot be requested in advance.
  • Applicants should ensure the email address heritage@jclegacies.com is on their safe sender list and applicants should check their spam folders on a regular basis following their submission of application.
Payment of Grants
  1. Awards will be paid in three instalments: 50% upon receipt of a signed grant agreement; 40% upon receipt of an interim report after having expensed the first drawdown of the project; and a final payment of 10% upon receipt of a final report detailing activities and financial outcomes.
  2. If the recipient’s project changes, recipients must contact the BC Heritage Sites Program Coordinator and JCLS office (in writing) as soon as possible to discuss impact on the project and to request permission for the changes.
  3. The JCLS reserves the right to suspend payments if the recipient:
  • does not carry out their planned project. Should the project not proceed, the initial instalment must be refunded to the JCLS;
  • makes major changes to the planned project without the approval of the JCLS;
  • fails to comply with the terms of the grant, including submission of a final report.
Reporting Requirements
  • The requirement for an interim and a final report will be part of the grant agreement.
  • Instructions on submitting final reports will be given to successful applicants.
  • Recipients must submit a final report within 45 days of the end of the project to receive the final payment.
  • Future applications to the JCLS will be ineligible if reporting requirements are not met.

The collection, use and disclosure of personal information are subject to the privacy provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC). Personal information will be shared in confidence with members of the assessment team. The names and locations of successful award recipients will be published, along with the amount of the award, in the Annual Report of the JCLS as well as in various communications and promotional vehicles thereof.

Recognition of Assistance

In recognition of funding, the support of the JCLS must be acknowledged in all promotional materials, both print and online where appropriate. Further details of recognition will be provided to successful applicants.

Amendment of Guidelines

These guidelines may be amended by the JCLS from time to time, and applicants should ensure that their applications comply with the most recent version of the guidelines.


Contact Information

If you have any questions after reading the Program Application Guidelines and the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact the JCLS Project Office at info@jclegacies.com.


Heritage B.C. (2022). Heritage Legacy Fund Program Guidelines & Policies 2022www.heritagebc.ca.

Japanese Canadian Legacies are initiatives that honour our elders past and present. We are grateful to be doing this work on the ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples.