In honour of Asian Heritage Month, the Kelowna Museum Society hosted a tour of the Chinese and Japanese sections of the Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery.
“The tours tell beautiful stories about the people who are buried here, the history behind them. We like to place people in this global context and it really helps us better understand the history a little better,” said Kelowna Museum Society’s Jen Garner.
Local historian Bob Hayes walked attendees through the past telling stories of early settlers and about the roll the Asian community played in the development of Kelowna.
“There used to be a Chinatown on Leon Street in Kelowna, however, in the early 1900s Kelowna was a very English community and the Chinese weren’t treated as well as the Japanese were. (Chinatown) was eventually torn down, but there were about 300 people who resided in the community,” said Hayes.
The earliest grave visited on the tour was that of Julius Jackson Rice, who was buried in 1893.
“The cemetery itself was started in 1892. They are still burying people here but there are about a dozen grave markers dated between 1893 to early 1900,” said Hayes.
The next tour will take place June 8. Visit the Kelowna Museum Society’s website for a full list of scheduled tours.
Here’s a stroll through Wednesday’s Asian history tour.