Kosumi Steet will be the name of a new road between Alder and Webb Avenues. (City of Chilliwack Webmap)

Kosumi Steet will be the name of a new road between Alder and Webb Avenues. (City of Chilliwack Webmap)

New Chilliwack street name will honour Japanese-Canadian family

Kosumi Street was the suggestion for the new north-south road connecting Alder and Webb Avenues

A new road under construction in Sardis will be named after a Japanese-Canadian family with roots in Chilliwack dating back to 1924.

Council approved the name “Kosumi Street” for the new north-south road being built to connect Alder and Webb Avenue.

Kosumi Street was the suggestion put forth to council by City of Chilliwack’s heritage advisory committee, and honours a Japanese-Canadian family that arrived in Chilliwack in 1924.

Committee members brainstormed a range of street name suggestions with historical ties to Chilliwack including: Cannery, Chambers, Ball, Kelly, Sicker, Isfeld, as well as Kosumi.

“Acknowledging that each name had merit, committee members noted that this was an opportunity to acknowledge Chilliwack’s diverse historical background, honouring the name of a Japanese-Canadian family whose history in the community dates back to 1924, and who were moved to a relocation camp in 1942; finally returning to Sardis in 1949 to work at Orion Bowman before retiring in 1955.”

The background information provided by the Chilliwack Museum and Archives indicates that Shin and Yori Kosumi moved to Chilliwack from Mayne Island, B.C. in 1924.

“Shin Kosumi worked in the woods as a high rigger at Orion Bowman,” according the museum.

The family was among the 23,000 Japanese Canadians in B.C. who were relocated during the Second World War in 1942. They were sent to an internment camp, but sought to return to Chilliwack as soon as they were able to.

For several years after the war the Kosumis worked in Ontario until in 1949 when permission was granted for all Japanese-Canadians to return to the West Coast or wherever they chose to settle in Canada.

The family gravitated back to Sardis. Shin Kosumi resumed employment at working in the woods as a timekeeper for Orion Bowman, while his wife Yori Kosumi also worked for Bowman’s packing shingles, until the couple retired to Surrey in 1955.

“According to a brief biography written by their son, when Shin was not working in the woods, he could be found along the Vedder River,” according to the staff report in the Oct. 20 council meeting package. “Shin was an avid steelhead fisherman and usually won prizes in the annual steelhead derby.”

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City of ChilliwackHeritage