The tours last between an hour and 90 minutes and are done in groups of four to eight people, visiting 20 historic locations along Alexander Street, Gore Avenue, Powell Street, and Princess Avenue.The stops include former sites of Japanese Canadian-owned businesses such as Maikawa Nippon Auto Supply on the southwest corner of Alexander and Gore. The building, next door to Burrard Iron Works, is newly renovated but some of the original elements can still be seen. Nippon Auto Supply was run by Sadakichi Maikawa who was one of five brothers that owned other businesses in the neighbourhood like the Maikawa Fuji Chopsuey restaurant and the Maikawa Fish Store.Sadakichi turned what started as a transportation business in 1913 using automobiles instead of horses into the largest garage and storage for automobiles at the time. It was given the name Nippon Auto Supply in 1926.The tour also stops at the Aoki Rooms, a tenement building built by early Japanese settlers in Vancouver. Labourers newly arrived in Vancouver seeking employment, would visit the owner Yonekichi Aoki for lodging and information on forestry logging contractors.Yonekichi started logging in 1895 before working at the Hastings Sawmill on Burrard Inlet. He eventually progressed to being a Canadian Pacific Railway contractor and the Aoki Rooms acted as a hub for those with questions about the employment office, ticket handling, and consular procedures. Yonekichi’s son George Tameo Aoki was also well known in the community as a player on the Asahi baseball team which is also highlighted on the tour.
Historic Powell Street walking tours
When: Every Thursday and Saturday starting June 11, 2022Where: Starts at Vancouver Japanese Language School - Japanese Hall (VJLS-JH), 487 Alexander Street.
Cost: Admission is $10 per person.