Yoshio Shimizu, a prisoner in Glencoe during WWII

Yoshio Shimuzu: “You have to remember that we had been driven from our homes by racial prejudice in British Columbia, reviled and despised by the bulk of the population, and here in the farmlands of southwestern Ontario, we were welcomed as equals and saviours by the farming population.”

There was a shortage of labour during the war and young Japanese Canadians helped fill the gap. The federal government granted Ontario money to take young men from BC in the summer of 1942, six months after Japan entered the war.
YOSHIO (YON) SHIMIZU (1924-2016)
An 18 year old from Victoria B.C., Mr. Shimuzu was initially sent to Northern Ontario but in May 1942 he and over 100 others were sent to work on farms in SW Ontario. About 58 were dropped off the train in Glencoe. For Shimuzu and the others this was to be their home for the summer. They lived at the fairgrounds in Glencoe in a building called the Crystal Palace.
The Crystal Palace on the fairgrounds in Glencoe. Note the bathhouse behind. The bath house is now located on the MacDonald Farm on Glencoe outside Glencoe. The Crystal palace was home to about 50 Japanese Canadians in the summer of 1942, who were forcibly removed from their homes on the west coast. The men were paid 35 cents per hour to work on farms in the area before leaving November 11th. The building would later house prisoners of war from Germany and Italy.
On January 18, 2023, Brian Angyal showed slides and told the story of Yoshio Shimizu at The Archives in Glencoe to a hybrid audience.
Going to the movies at the Glencoe Fox theatre. Later, Mr. Shimizu wrote a book called The Exiles: An archival history of the World War II Japanese Road Camps in British Columbia and Ontario. Using first-hand reports, interviews, articles from The New Canadian newspaper, photographs and government documents, he made sure that this shameful episode in Canadian history was preserved for historians and future generations as a truthful, documented record.

Yoshio Shimuzu earned his degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto after the war. We worked at a die-casting company in Wallaceburg and then did his MBA from University of Windsor through night classes. He retired from Waltec Industries as Vice-President and General Manager. His hometown Chamber of Commerce honoured him with Citizen of the Year awards. Here he is with his wife Norma visiting with Brian Angyal in February 2016.

 In 1995 he organized a grand reunion of former Japanese Canadian Victorians. His lasting contribution of that event was the bronze plaque mounted on a wall in Centennial Square commemorating the pre-war Japanese community that had been exiled.
Brian Angyal interviewed Shimizu in February 2016. Shimizu died July 2, 2016 and Brian told his story the first time October 19, 2016.
Chris Gareau, a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with the Middlesex Banner, wrote a two-page photo story based on Brian’s presentation which was published 25 January 2023. Also published in the Penticton Herald