A group attended the ceremony among them was architect Raymond Moriyama and representatives from the 75 Japanese Canadian families who helped build the original Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.
The new heritage centre is a hands-on space where people are able to learn not only about the Japanese Canadian experience, but also the experiences of other Nikkei cultures around the world.
“When we first approached Gary, the name of the place was the Nikkei Heritage Museum and I asked the name to be changed to a Centre,” Raymond Moriyama said during a speech at the centre’s opening referring a meeting between him and the JCCC’s president.
“The word ‘Museum’ implies that it’s in the past, that’s its static, so with that we wanted to make into a much more global and over time it’s become interactive. It puts the JCCC at the centre of a global activity which focuses on many aspects a lot of people in the world don’t know about.”
As the architect of both the original Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Ontario Science Centre, Moriyama has experience in both understanding how important hands-on experience and cultural significance is in building a hub for people.
The OSC was built in 1961 and, according to Moriyama, several science museums around the world have used it as a template to help build educational facilities that get kids and adults into learning through touch and experimentation.
“We were looking for a change in the culture and social perspective of the world. I was looking for equality and inclusion of all people, so I think this heritage centre should be able to achieve that even closer as a global institution.”
“It’s very important, I think, to preserve such a proud history and culture, but also to share this kind of story with a lot of young people, people in the community, and people in Japan and the world,” Eiji Yamamoto, said.
During his speech, Yamamoto recognized the technological aspects of the centre and hoped it will soon be able to connect with others in places like Yokohama, Japan and Hawaii.
The centre is now open for use by the public.