B.C. tall trees help restore Japan’s tall ship

Timber from Port Alberni helped Japanese museum replace historic ship masts destroyed in tsunami

George Omori of Western Forest Products' Japan office stands before the reconstructed San Juan Bautista

George Omori of Western Forest Products' Japan office stands before the reconstructed San Juan Bautista

One of a series of articles on the future of the B.C. forest industry. For more #BCForestFuture stories see index below or search for the hashtag on Facebook or Twitter.

MIYAGI, JAPAN – When the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated coastal areas around Fukushima in 2011, one area struck was the San Juan Bautista Museum, breaking the masts of a reconstructed Spanish sailing ship from the 17th Century.

A symbol of Japan’s earliest outreach to the world, and its recovery from an equally devastating tsunami 400 years before, restoring the ship and museum was a priority for the local government of Miyagi Prefecture. But Japan had no trees big enough to replace the masts.

As part of the Canadian and B.C. government and forest industry’s efforts to contribute to recovery, the ship project was added to a school, public library and other projects using donated wood and the latest construction techniques.

Western Forest Products located Douglas fir and cedar trees in the Port Alberni area and delivered them to Japan, allowing the ship and museum to reopen in 2013. An industry delegation led by B.C. Forests Minister Steve Thomson visited the project Nov. 26 as part of a trade mission to Japan and China.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson tours Donguri Anne Public Library with Natori Mayor Shiro Yamada and head librarian Ms. Estuko Shibazaki, Natori, Japan, Nov. 26, 2016. Thomson holds an original Japanese edition of Anne of Green Gables.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson tours Donguri Anne Public Library with Natori Mayor Shiro Yamada and head librarian Ms. Estuko Shibazaki, in Natori, Japan, Nov. 26, 2016. Thomson holds an original Japanese edition of Anne of Green Gables.   Tom Fletcher photo

Another Miyagi project constructed with B.C. wood is the Donguri Anne Library For Everyone, giving a safe haven and community centre for the residents of Natori City after it was devastated by the force-nine earthquake and a wall of water that reached 12 metres high in some coastal areas in December, 2011.

The community is still undergoing reconstruction, and the cozy library with its rich cedar scent is a comfort for parents and children, said Natori Mayor Shiro Yamada. It was named for the acorn, a symbol of regeneration, and Anne of Green Gables, a Canadian literary figure beloved by the Japanese.

The library has a “Canadian corner” with books on Canada, and Yamada has sent his children to study at Journey Middle School in Sooke as part of a school exchange program with Natori.

The library uses hybrid heavy timber post-and-beam construction with a two-by-four infill wall system and oriented strand-board sheathing, designed to maximize earthquake resistance.

The project also includes new buildings for a destroyed public market, where the tsunami smashed a community of more than 5,000 people and left 1,000 dead. It is a project of Canada Wood Group, financed by Natural Resources Canada, the provinces of B.C. and Alberta and the Canadian forest industry.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens for the season tomorrow, Nov. 27, 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Know before you go: Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens tomorrow

Masks are mandatory, lineup opens at 6:30 a.m.

COVID-19 signage outside the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
UPDATE: 22 COVID cases in 14 days in Revelstoke

Interior Health is calling the increasing number of cases a community cluster

Revelstoke City Council has appointed a chief election officer, requiring an election within 80 days. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
City appoints chief election officer, has 80 days to host election

The suggested date to host the byelection is Feb. 13, 2021

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

Revelstoke City Councillors approved increases to water and sewer fees for 2021. (Review file photo)
City increases sewer and water fees for 2021

Revelstoke City Council approved the increases at their Nov. 24 meeting

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

RCMP searched for a suspect in Polson Park following an assault on a woman Thursday, Nov. 26. (Morning Star file photo)
Public warned after woman assaulted in Vernon’s Polson Park

RCMP on the hunt for suspect, described as in his 30’s

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

The Rutland IGA is located in Willow Park Shopping Centre at 590 BC-33. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Customer asked to mask up, throws hot coffee at Kelowna IGA employee

The woman grabbed cat food on her way out when she refused to wear a mask

City of Armstrong Public Works Yard. (Google Maps)
Armstrong city staffer threatened in snow removal complaint

Community services manager says ‘veiled threat’ is believed to have been flippant, but is being taken seriously

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read