Largest donation ever kicks off final phase of Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre's National Building Together Campaign

    Vancouver's Yone Kobayashi and son Marty make historic donation and
    kick-off campaign with symbolic painting of Daruma doll's eye

    TORONTO, Sept. 15 /CNW/ - Today, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
(JCCC) - the largest Japanese cultural centre outside Japan - celebrated
Kansei e no Michi (Pathway to Completion) at a special event to launch the
final phase of its $13 million plus capital campaign.
    Vancouver native Yone Kobayashi was on-hand with her son Marty to make an
$800,000 donation to jumpstart the campaign - bringing her total contribution
to the campaign to $3 million - the largest-ever contribution to a Japanese
cultural centre.
    "Our family has benefited so much from being involved in the Centre over
the past 40 years. We are delighted to be able to make this donation in order
to ensure that the Centre continues to provide the many activities and
programs that build friendship and understanding - it is what is key to having
successful communities," said Yone Kobayashi.
    Yone and her husband Coby were Founding Members of the Centre and were
among 75 families who pledged their homes as collateral to secure financing
for construction of the first facility back in 1963. Both Yone and Coby
volunteered countless hours in various capacities within the centre to ensure
it served the community well. Coby passed away in 1999 but Yone continued the
work they had begun together. This dedication rubbed off on their son Marty
who also became very active at the Centre including a stint as the President
and Chairman of the Board.
    "I am so proud of what my mom and dad have helped build here. My family's
contribution will ensure that the Centre remains an important institution for
the Japanese Canadian community," added Marty.
    The final phase (phase III) of the campaign will focus on the second
floor of the Centre. Work will include the addition of an elevator and
stairway to provide easier and additional access to the second floor, the
creation of the Nikkei Resource Centre that will house archives and articles,
a Tea Ceremony Room and renovation of the administrative offices and the
boardroom. Additional rental spaces and multi-purpose rooms will also be added
to increase programming and resources within the JCCC.
    Refinements will also be made to the main floor and grounds including an
additional culinary facility near the Kobayashi Hall, and an outdoor
irrigation system to maintain the Japanese-style gardens and the treasured
Sakura trees, which serve as a symbol of the friendship between the Japanese
and Canadian communities.
    Construction is set to begin in September 2007 with a target completion
date of Spring 2008.
    "This final stage of construction of the new Japanese Canadian Cultural
Centre represents the completion of a ten year vision designed to ensure that
the Centre and its programs continued to reflect the expanding and active
Japanese and Canadian community," said James Heron, Executive Director,
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. "With the completion of Phase III, the
Centre's tradition of preserving the rich history and culture of Japan and the
sharing of knowledge and experience with other cultures and communities will
take on an even greater level of vitality.
    Today's event featured an impressive Ikebana display created by
Ikenobo Ikebana Society of Toronto. Guests enjoyed special performances by
Koto players Linda Caplan and Jane Clarke , Toronto's 13 year old Annette Wong
on STAGEA and Mark Kelso on drums, and jazz virtuosos David Braid and
Matt Brubeck.
    Yone and Marty Kobayashi also participated in the traditional painting of
a Daruma's left eye to symbolize the beginning of a wish. "Daruma no meire" is
a ceremony in which the left eye of the Daruma doll is painted to symbolize
the launch of a new venture or rebuilding. The second eye is eventually
painted in at the successful completion of the project.
    Located at 6 Garamond Court, this new centre designed by KPMB Architects
expands the original vision of cultural sharing and openness and replaces the
original Wynford Drive Moriyama-designed Centre.

    Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre - Friendship Through Culture

    Since 1964, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre has provided a place -
and more importantly, the impetus - for the exchange of culture and ideas such
as the sharing of Japanese traditional and contemporary arts, Japan-Canada
business, and Japanese Canadian heritage and historical pursuits. The JCCC
continues to promote the sharing of knowledge by expanding its resources to
offer greater accessibility to those interested in the history and culture of
    For more information on activities and programs at the Japanese Canadian
Cultural Centre visit

    Note: CP will have a photo available.

For further information:

For further information: Victoria Ollers, (416) 822-2288

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