Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Shimizu Interview
Narrator: Henry Shimizu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25 & 26, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-shenry-01-0036

HS: Well, one of the memories I have of Hastings Park was, was the fact that although there was a fence around Hastings Park, and you weren't allowed to leave the park, you could actually leave the park by just jumping over the fence. And that was very simply done, because it's a great big, one of these big dipper roller coasters, and the roller coaster would go right close to the fence, and you just have to climb yourself up the roller coaster and jump over the fence, which was only about eight feet high. And so you just come right over there, and then you just jump the fence, and you could go out. The problem was to get back in; that was the only difficulty. And so, so you had to sort of sneak back in somehow when you felt, if there's a number of people there, so that you could sort of sneak in with them. And I know a lot of kids used to try to jump out, spend the day in Vancouver and come, sneak in, back into the camp. Because there's no place -- if you got out, that's fine, but where do you go? You look, you're a visible minority, you can't sleep in the park or anything like that because you'd be caught. So what you end up with is you'd have to come back to the camp. And I, I suppose there may have been some cases where people slipped out and never came back, but where would you go? That was the big problem.

TI: Did any of the boys or any of the people get in trouble for doing that?

HS: Well, I can't, I don't remember anybody that got into trouble, because I don't believe that once, once the camp got, once the Hastings Park got going, I don't believe that the people that were looking, like the guards, the guards were not RCMP. They had maybe one or two people there that were RCMP, but the majority of the guards were what they called commissionaires. That's where they got the term commissionaires, they were B.C., B.C. Security Commission employees. And they hired a whole bunch of World War I veterans who were willing to, 'cause it gave 'em a job. The old guys that, by this time, they'd be in, certainly over the age of fifty years of age, forty or fifty years of age, and then even older, because they'd been in World War I. They made it a point of appointing people who were originally veterans, figuring that they're much more trustworthy as guards. And they became, they were, like they would be, they would have armbands saying B.C. Security, B.C. Security Commission, and they were called commissionaires and they, they would guard the entrance gates.

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