What was the Japanese internment experience in Canada, including the number of internees, duration, camp locations, living conditions, and reparations?

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The Internment of Canadians of Japanese ancestry began in 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and continued until the end of World War II. In response to fears of possible invasion or sabotage, Japanese were rounded up and moved from the province of British Columbia to internment camps in the interior of Canada.

In all more than 23,000 internees were moved during this period. At the end of the period of internment most internees were either relocated away from British Columbia or allowed to leave the country. The Canadian government conducted a study in 1947 that showed there was no danger of sabotage. It wasn’t until 1988 that reparations were paid to those who were wrongly interred.

The majority of camps were located in the Kooteny region of British Columbia, although there were also camps in Ontario, New Bruswick and Quebec. Some were camps while others were less guarded relocations centers.

The conditions in the camps varied. Some were horribly unsanitary. The Hastings Park camp was particularly bad since most of the internees were occupying old barns and stables. These shelters were particularly exposed with only single pop-bellied stoves for heat. Other camps which housed internees that weren’t deemed a threat. The Red Cross also helped improve conditions at the camps by diverting food aide to the internees.

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