Vancouver’s annual celebration of Japanese tradition will happen this 12 months on aspect streets across the Downtown Eastside, as a substitute of its traditional website in Oppenheimer Park, the place an unusually excessive variety of persons are dwelling in tents.
The Powell Avenue Pageant, a celebration of Japanese arts, meals and tradition described as the most important of its variety in Canada, has been held each August lengthy weekend for the previous 4 a long time.
With only some exceptions, it has taken place in Oppenheimer Park on Powell Avenue, the historic coronary heart of the native Japanese Canadian neighborhood till its forcible removing by the federal authorities through the Second World Conflict.
However with Vancouver’s homeless inhabitants at file highs, in keeping with final month’s annual rely, the variety of residents dwelling in Oppenheimer Park has soared. So the competition plans to go forward this 12 months largely outdoors the park.
This 12 months’s competition, which incorporates dwell music, martial arts performances and meals stalls, will largely be held on aspect streets within the Downtown Eastside, together with Alexander, Jackson, and Dunlevy streets, mentioned the Powell Avenue Pageant Society’s govt director, Emiko Morita. In earlier years, competition representatives would usually be within the park doing preparation within the lead-up to the occasion, Morita mentioned, and Oppenheimer residents had voluntarily moved to close the perimeter of the park in the course of the occasion.
However occasion organizers began making various plans final winter, when park board rangers instructed the competition society that the variety of folks dwelling within the park was “unprecedented” for that point of 12 months, Morita mentioned. Town has been supportive, she mentioned, of the plan to make use of aspect streets this 12 months as a substitute of the park.
Jason Payne /
“We perceive that we’re visitors within the park, that we come yearly, and we’re a little bit of a disruption for some,” Morita mentioned. “This 12 months, the distinction is that housing disaster is having a palpable impact on the park.”
There have been two years prior to now decade when the competition relocated, Morita mentioned, as soon as due to a tent metropolis in Oppenheimer and as soon as due to park renovations.
This week, members of the Carnegie Neighborhood Motion Venture counted greater than 100 folks dwelling within the park, mentioned Elli Taylor, an assistant on the Venture.
Taylor mentioned Venture representatives had met with the Powell Avenue Pageant, and appreciates their efforts this 12 months to keep away from displacing park residents.
“The competition is being superior,” Taylor mentioned. “It’s the popularity that folks must cease being displaced. There’s no place to go.”
“As a neighborhood that has skilled pressured displacement, we refuse to proceed this sample of dispossession of weak folks on this space,” the Powell Avenue Pageant Society’s president, Edward Takayanagi, mentioned in a press release on Thursday.
“In respect for the present residents and the occupants of the park, they’ve designed their competition and program to make sure the folks within the park aren’t displaced whereas offering a wealthy cultural expertise for competition goers,” his assertion mentioned.
The Powell Avenue Pageant takes place on Aug. three and four.