The primary role of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre of Montreal (JCCCM) is to provide a permanent location where the cultural heritage of the Japanese Canadians with its unique historical background could be sustained and shared by our community as well as by members of the Canadian public. The entire premises are regularly maintained so that the Centre will provide at all times a gathering place for various community groups in a warm, clean and hospitable surrounding. We are committed to encompass people from all walks of life regardless of race or religion and not confine ourselves to an insular ghetto-creating community centre. Our mandate therefore is to coordinate and facilitate communication within the Nikkei community and to promote greater knowledge and appreciation by the Canadian public of Japanese customs, language, history and its rich cultural heritage. In order to fulfill these aims, various facilities and programs are provided, as shown in detail under the heading of Programs offered by the JCCCM.
The mission and vision of the JCCCM are to retain our mandate which was formulated with considerable research and study more than 30 years ago and while continuing to serve as an effective resource centre, we must constantly look beyond our cultural boundaries for greater interaction with other ethnic communities. By keeping our sense of community, sharing other cultures and addressing mutual concerns we would surely enrich ours. We will continue to support and encourage the creative endeavours of our young people whose commendable efforts have rewarded our community with a new dimension in cultural outreach. In time, we hope that they will take over the reins of the JCCCM to accept the challenges and concerns that affect our society and build on the legacy and pride of heritage established by their predecessors.
The JCCCM was formally constituted as a corporation by the Quebec Government, Department of Consumer Affairs in November 1975 and received recognition as a Registered Charity by Revenue Canada in May 1977. In accordance with its constitution the JCCCM is a non-denominational, non-profit organization under which a number of independent organizations maintain their activities. The governing body is the Council consisting of 11 elected members including representatives from recognized community organizations and meets monthly to manage the Centre’s business. Election of Council members takes place every 2 years at the Annual General Meeting and the Executives are elected at a separate meeting of Council held within 2 weeks of the Annual General Meeting.
The finances of the Centre constitute a major factor in short and long term planning. Annual grants from Centraide and the Health and Social Services Ministry of Quebec are two major sources of income augmented by membership fees, donations, Japanese language classes and rental income. It is also funded by revenue producing projects such as the Spring Bazaar, Christmas Craft and Bake Sale and the year-end Mochitsuki events. Maintenance costs are kept to a minimum by repairs and maintenance work done by experienced volunteers. Volunteers are non-stipend, although certain members such as our Office Staff (Receptionist and Program Director), Thursday Drop-In animator and the Library coordinators receive a modest compensation for their specific duties.
Our community is indebted to Father Claude Labrecque, p.s.s. who added his personal funds to a donation from Bishop (later Cardinal) Emile Leger to purchase a building on Sherbrooke Street to house a much needed Kindergarten. Renovation work was donated by professional carpenters (Ishii brothers) who made remarkable improvements to the premises, in which meetings and activities were held by the JCCA and many other community groups who gathered there. To pay for expenses, a Maintenance Committee was formed which handled the finances and administration. Each year a 2-day Bazaar was organized which raised about $1000.00.
In time, through the foresight and effort of Father Guy Leduc, p.m.e. who negotiated with the Grey Nuns to have them donate the tract of land on Rousselot Street, his vision became a reality in 1964 with the construction of the present structure at 8155 Rousselot as “St-Paul-Ibaraki Japanese Catholic Mission” (for its official website, click here). The building, as “Kaikan”, also provided the Cultural Centre with facilities needed to implement its aims and for many other smaller organizations to function. The activities of the Centre were thus pursued in rented quarters owned by the Catholic Archdiocese for many years until June 1994 when a private sale of the Rousselot property was consummated between the Catholic Archdiocese and the JCCCM for a negotiated price of $400,000. A community wide financial campaign with a 5-year pledge, augmented by a once in a lifetime grant of $275,000 from the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation enabled the JCCCM to purchase the property without a mortgage. The grant was part of the historic Redress Agreement between the NAJC and the Federal Government. The JCCCM has agreed to accommodate the St-Paul-Ibaraki Japanese Catholic Mission, a state of co-existence based on harmony and good-will enjoyed for more than 30 years.
In February 2002 after many years of research, planning, cost comparison and meeting with architects and contractors, great improvements were achieved by the successful construction of a new front extension including landscaping at a cost of $250,000 without subjecting our community to another round of special fund raising.