The Tasaka Family

 

 

The Tasaka family, primarily from the island of Sashima, Japan, began their residence on Salt Spring Island in 1905.   Isaburo Tasaka had been in North America since 1893 and, after landing in Portland, Oregon, where he logged in the winter, he had established a business in Steveston exporting barrels of salted salmon. The border, at that time, was open and settlers routinely travelled back and forth. After a return visit to Japan, he had brought his pregnant bride Yorie to Steveston in 1903 . The Tasaka home on Salt Spring was located in the village of Ganges on Seaview Avenue near what is now Mouat Regional Park.             
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Restored Kiln
The Tasaka charcoal kiln after restoration
Photo by Gillian Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

While working as a carpenter, one of Isaburo’s notable endeavours was the production of charcoal primarily for sale in Victoria to fish packing, soap and explosive plants but also, on Salt Spring Island, to McAfee’s blacksmith shop.
The remains of two of his charcoal kilns were rediscovered in 2013 in Mouat Park at the end of Seaview Avenue. A kiln restoration project, with interpretative signage, was initiated by the S.S.I. Japanese Garden Society and executed by PARC. It is now complete and one of the kilns is accessible for public viewing.

See information on Charcoal Kilns on Salt Spring
and their Restoration by the Japanese Garden Society

 

 

 

 

Tasaka drystone wall

 Tasaka drystone wall under the boardwalk
Photo by Don Clogg

 

 

Isaburo Tasaka was also skilled in building dry stone walls in the Japanese tradition and among other projects on the Island was responsible for the construction of a sea-wall on the water-side of Mouat’s Hardware. This work was commissioned by Gavin Mouat in the late 1920’s. It is now under the harbourside boardwalk but can be viewed from the Coastguard dock, particularly at low tide. Another example can be seen on the shore of Ganges Harbour in Walter’s Cove.

 

 

Tasaka Family

 

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The Tasaka family, numbering at times as many as 21 individuals, maintained a presence on Salt Spring Island until 1929 when Isaburo and Yorie returned to Steveston. Then, in 1935, Isaburo returned to Japan, with Yorie and their four youngest children, to attend to his father’s estate in Sashima. Their descendants, today numbering close to a thousand, settled throughout B.C. and the rest of Canada following the Japanese Canadian uprooting and internment of World War II.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: TASAKA, Ted Ohashi & Yvonne Wakabayashi,

     North Vancouver, B.C., 2005, pg.42

 

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