My parents were clear on their decision to remain in Canada and chose to move to AB until the restrictions on moving back to the coast were lifted. We as children were not involved in these family decisions. I was eight years old at the end of the internment. My brother was five years younger, so he was three. I’m quite sure that there was no way my parents were going to Japan. We opted to go east of the Rockies and that’s why we ended up in Alberta with a full intent of returning to Vancouver when it was time.
Others chose to be exiled to Japan or to move to AB, MN, ON and PQ. Many made the choice to leave BC and never return. I’ve heard from people in Toronto who have said: Good riddance as far as living in BC was concerned. They were so upset and traumatized by what had happened, that once they started life over again, they were not going to move back to BC. They were angry, resentful. Once established in Toronto, what’s the incentive to return? They had relatively good jobs in Toronto. Why move again? They were uprooted twice already. Why would they want to go through that once more?
The most significant impact of this dispersal was the obliteration of community, first of the many communities on the coast, and again when the camps were closed. Families and friendships were broken at least twice by the internment.