The Lethbridge and District Japanese Garden Society and The City of Lethbridge are pleased to share that the Nikka Yuko Centennial Garden (Japanese Garden) has been designated a Provincial Historical Resource. The Honorable Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture & Tourism, confirmed this designation on October 19th, 2017, making Nikka Yuko Lethbridge's 15th Provincial Historical Resource.
This distinction recognizes the Garden's provincial significance and its importance to Alberta's natural and human history. Additionally, the Garden is now protected under Section 20 of the Historical Resources Act. This will help ensure that generations to come can find peace and serenity in the Gardens as the original designers intended.
"This designation is another milestone for our much loved Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "This attraction continues to raise the profile of our city by providing a unique experience for visitors from around the world."
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden was built to celebrate Canada's Centennial in 1967. It recognizes the contributions made by citizens of Japanese ancestry to the multi-cultural fabric of Lethbridge. It also serves as a symbol of the international friendship between Canada and Japan. It was built as a "Canadian garden in the Japanese style".
"We are very proud of this designation," says Michelle Day, Executive Director of Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. "This Garden was built to honour our rich history with Japan and it's very fitting that the provincial government is also recognizing the value of Nikka Yuko in Alberta's history."
The Garden is a living monument to the contributions of Nekkei, emigrants and descendants from Japan. In the post-war period, Southern Alberta had the third largest Nekkei population in the country.
The Garden is also significant because of a long legacy of distinguished visitors. Prince and Princess Takamado of the Imperial Family of Japan officially opened the Garden in July 1967. They also returned for the 25th anniversary. This past year the Garden had the great pleasure of hosting Princesses Ayako of Takamado for the 50th anniversary.
The Garden continues to place deep value on its connection to Japan which includes, Imperial Family visits, the numerous collogues and friends which the Garden regularly communicates and consults with and the guests which travel from Japan to view the beloved Japanese Garden.
James Phelan, Marketing and Events
Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden