Open Doors Project

270 Powell Street


Vancouver lies on unceded Coast Salish territory. There’s always been a strong First Nations presence here, and many continue to feel that connection and acceptance.

Hasting Mill was built on the site of Q’umq’umal’ay (Big Leaf Maple Trees). By 1889, there were over 200 Japanese Canadian workers employed at the mill. The steady rise of Japanese immigrant workers in the early 20th century resulted in the largest employment growth of the BC sawmill industry.

"My grandmother did quite well in the Nakamura florist shop, I think she had a monopoly. My uncle grew flowers at Eburne, on Lulu Island. Grandmother and mother would make all the wreaths for all the funerals and most of the weddings." -Tamiko Nakamura Corbett

Artist Comments and Additional Information

This panel references the labour history that was predominant in the Powell Street neighborhood. The Japanese in Vancouver were “gainfully employed” and relied upon unskilled work in sawmills, gardening, odd labour, domestic and hotel services. The other half were involved in a range of commercial enterprises including small shops, markets, rooming houses, laundries, bathhouses, pool halls, watchmakers, and other service enterprises and recreational facilities. Panel 270 shows two mill workers against a watermark backdrop of Hastings Mills, while an interior view of the Nakamura Florist Shop and its florists sits above.

Hastings Mill was located at the foot of Gore Avenue and was a source of employment for many Japanese Canadians. The Nakamura Florist Shop was one of several shops along the block of Powell Street and supplied all the flowers for both funerals and weddings.