As it has been for everyone around the world, 2020 proved to be a year of unprecedented challenges and the JCCC found itself facing probably the greatest challenge we have had to weather in our nearly 60 year history. For the safety of our members and community we closed the Centre on March 15 just prior to the announcement the broader lockdown. We have remained closed since that date but we have been busier than ever. In order to continue to deliver on our mandate we have pivoted online and have created virtual concerts, Japanese lessons, sake seminars, children’s activities, dance and music programs, a cross-country virtual edition of the Toronto Japanese Film Festival, an online fundraiser, an improved website, as well as a broad spectrum of heritage offerings. Our new exhibition, Maru: Immigration Stories will explore Nikkei stories across the Americas and is currently being installed in the Moriyama Nikkei Heritage Centre and virtually on Google Art and Culture. The summer months also saw our martial arts clubs conducting outdoor practices in our parking lot and Kobayashi garden. We have also prepared the physical building for reopening with new safety protocols, touchless faucets, automatic main doors and enhanced HVAC systems for air flow. In short, we are ready to go and cannot wait to reopen our doors to you.
Since those first anxious days last March we have received countless messages of goodwill and encouragement. As exhausting and confusing as this past year been, it has brought out the best in so many and happily confirms just how much the Centre means to so many people.
The JCCC remains blessed with a multitude of selfless volunteers, an active membership and community, a committed board of directors and a dedicated staff. I want to offer my sincere thanks to the community for giving me the chance to be a part of the Centre again for this, my 20th year. It is an honour and I do my best to serve the community in the manner it deserves. I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday and a 2021 that finds us again gathering at the JCCC in the happy pursuit of “Friendship through Culture.”