Richmond Culture Days, Sept. 25-Oct. 25, 2020

In celebration of Culture Days, THE MEMORY PROJECT will be dedicated to images of places and objects that connect you to a home you have lost or left behind in Richmond – or elsewhere in the world, to come to Richmond.

Share your memory…

And join us for a livestream screening of DREAMS OF THE DEAD, with a discussion of the film and THE MEMORY PROJECT on October 5th at 7:00 pm.  Register for the Zoom screening on Eventbrite!

The Pumpkin Years

Don Genova, VICTORIA

I grew up on the outskirts of Toronto, on an acre of farmland that was swiftly surrounded in the 1970’s by Bramalea, known then as Canada’s ‘First Suburban City’. My dad always grew a large patch of pumpkins and as the suburbs grew closer, I would sit at the end of our driveway with a little cart full of pumpkins and sell them to people who would stop in their cars. 50 cents for a small one, $1.00 for a big one! Soon my father sold three lots off the back of our property for houses and that was it for the pumpkin patch. Our one acre of farmland was chopped by half and surrounded by light industrial factories and housing. But I have very fond memories of the pumpkin patch…

Posted: 6,October 2020

Blue lamp from the early 1960s

Amanda G-J, West Vancouver (where I grew up)

My parents had two matching blue lamps. When I was about 10 or 11, I was chasing my little sister around the living room early one morning and knocked one of them over. To my horror, it smashed to pieces. It took all the courage I had to confess this to my parents. I was expecting to be punished, but they were surprisingly cool about the accident. I would have been furious! After my father died a few years later, the remaining lamp followed my mother to her next few apartments and, at last, to her final place in a care home. After she died, I adopted the lamp. It reminds me vividly of the years when all our family were alive and together . . . and I love the colour.

Posted: 6,October 2020


Anonymous, Vancouver

In 1974, Dad bought a duplex in the ‘Glens’, just two years after landing in Canada. He raised three kids and housed his unmarried siblings and widowed mother in that boxy abode, which was renovated to add 2 bedrooms (making 6) and a living/dining room that hosted many gatherings to mark births, deaths, weddings and Canadian holidays. Dad saw memories everywhere and would say “I will die in this house”. And in 2012 he sadly did, causing the home to fill one more time with family and friends sharing our grief. Mom couldn’t stay after that, selling to the neighbour next door who eventually cashed in to sell the whole thing for over $2 mil to a developer. A house filled with generations of love, gone. “What a waste”, says my prescient 5 yr old, as we said good-bye to 9200.

Posted: 26,September 2020

Grampy’s garden

Wendy, Alexandra Road by the tram line on Garden City

There were times that childhood seemed like a nightmare! During those times, my Gramps was never far away. I’d find him and just hang out for a while. Being with him banished the bogeyman fo sure. He was a man of very few words who taught me about patience, and the exquisite joy of selective solitude . He shared things, with me, like gardening and woodwork. I still miss him.

Posted: 23,September 2020

My Happy Crazy Japanese Canadian Kitchen Table

John Ota, Toronto

My dad ate Japanese style. My mom and the kids ate Canadian style. We were a happy crazy Japanese Canadian family.

Posted: 22,January 2020

Nannan’s cookbook

Corinne, England

My Nannan’s old cookbook. My mother must have passed it along to me at some point although I don’t remember when. It came with her new gas cooker in 1969. It’s the cooker I remember from my childhood. The place she cooked her famous meat and potato pie – with Henderson’s of course! It’s funny how often I still refer to it even though the glue on the spine long gave up its ability to hold the pages together. I miss her and that busy, noisy kitchen with memories of magical Christmases with my cousins and grandparents, aunts and uncles

Posted: 21,December 2019

My father’s bombing raids

Patricia Gruben, Vancouver

After a house fire a few years ago I thought I’d lost the one thing I’d inherited from my father, a tiny notebook that recorded the bombing raids he flew as a navigator in WWII. This notebook inspired a film I made in 1994 about the myths we create about our families and the places they come from. Last year, sorting through old photos as my mother was moving to a new care home, I found the original version of the list on the back pages of an old address book. My father bombed Genoa, Vienna, Bucharest, Munich, Avignon, San Tropez — places he only ever saw from far above.

Posted: 1,April 2019

my mother’s coral necklace

Branka, Zagreb, Croatia

My mother had a beautiful ten strand coral necklace. Only sometimes I could borrow it for special occasions. After she passed away my sister and I shared it, now we have five strands each.

Posted: 30,March 2019

Dining Room Chair

Geoff Inverarity, Vancouver

The characters are hard to read on this tiny label my Mother wrote and put under the seat of a dining room chair: the date 30 years ago she reupholstered the seat, a New Year’s resolution completed, perhaps. The chairs were made for her father almost a century ago, and she cherished them in her time. They have seen thousands of meals, they’ve been used by four generations, and they’ve travelled the world, from blitz-torn London to post-war Edinburgh, and now to Vancouver in a new century. She’s left me a reminder: it’s time to reupholster the chairs again. My Mother’s long gone, but her work remains; she is still the ghost in the machine of household tasks, those small renewals and re-orderings that sustain us, leave us free for the vast and dirty business of living.

Posted: 24,March 2019
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My Grandfather’s cigarette case

Nikos Theodosakis, Crete, Greece

I met my grandfather Nikos Theodosakis in the summer of 1972, I was 9, and in Crete with my parents. He was in his mid 80’s and spent most of the day sitting on a chair in the courtyard in front of his house, which used to be a small cafe during the war. Leaning against his house, surveying the passing pedestrians and cars, he had one hand on his cane and the other holding this cigarette case, turning it, fidgeting with it and occasionally opening it up and lighting up a hand-rolled cigarette. I spoke no Greek, he spoke no English but I remember just standing next to my namesake, fascinated by him as we exchanged animated futile conversations with only our hands. When I hold this case in my hand, I imagine the decades he did the same, and somehow there’s a comfort in that connection.

Posted: 21,March 2019
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