Castle Mountain Internment Camp - Internment

Internment

Designated enemy aliens under Canada’s War Measures Act (1914), some 8,579 enemy aliens were interned during World War I as prisoners of war. Ostensibly nationals of countries at war with Canada, the vast majority however were settler immigrants, primarily of Ukrainian ethnic origin. Despite their civilian status, a great many were sent to prisoner of war camps located in the Canadian hinterland, to be used as military conscript labour on government work projects. Of particular note was the use of forced labour in Canada’s national parks, where they were introduced there as a matter of policy to improve existing facilities and increase accessibility by developing the park system’s infrastructure. By 1915 several internment camps in and around the Rocky Mountains were in full swing, including a camp at the foot of Castle Mountain, the terminal point of the then uncompleted Banff-Laggan (Lake Louise) road.

Recognizing the value of future tourism, the main purpose of the camp was to push the Banff highway on through to Lake Louise, although, in addition, bridges, culverts and fireguards were also built. The camp consisted of tents within a dual barbed wire enclosure. The tents however proved inadequate during the severe winter climate, forcing the camp to relocate to military barracks built on the outskirts of the town of Banff, adjacent to the Cave and Basin, site of the original Hot Springs. While in Banff, the internees were engaged in a number of special projects: land fill and drainage of the Recreation Grounds; clearing the Buffalo Paddocks; cutting trails; land reclamation for tennis courts, golf links, shooting ranges and ski jumps; rock-crushing; quarrying stone for the Banff Springs Hotel (still under construction) and smaller public works projects such as street and sidewalk repair. With the onset of spring, the camp returned once more to the Castle Mountain site. This process of return and relocation would continue until August 1917 when the camp was finally closed when the internees were conditionally released to industry to meet the growing labour shortage.

The Castle Mountain camp was a difficult facility to administer. Abuse was widespread, and although duly noted by the Directorate of Internment Operations in Ottawa, never corrected. Escapes were frequent while conditions at the camp were roundly condemned by neutral observers and the Central Powers, charging Canada with violations of international norms governing the internment of enemy aliens. Understandably, the conditions at the camp would become of interest to the War Office in London and a point of discussion between the British Government and Ottawa.

Read more about this topic:  Castle Mountain Internment Camp

Other articles related to "internment":

Internment - Concentration Camp - Shift in Meaning
... During the 20th century, the arbitrary internment of civilians by the state reached a climax with Nazi concentration camps (1933–1945) ...
Castle Mountain Internment Camp - Legacy
... of acknowledgement and redress for World War I internment ... On 5 June 2012 the internment camp monument was visited by Sviatoslav, Patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who held a requiem service at the actual camp site to hallow the memory of those ... to commemorate what happened is available at the website of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (www.internmentcanada.ca) ...
Mel Wakabayashi - Youth in Canada
... World War II, his parents were placed in a Japanese-Canadian internment camp at Slocan City, British Columbia ... It was at the barren internment camp at Slocan City that Mel was born ... families, the Wakabayashi family was moved to a second internment camp in Northern Ontario shortly after Mel was born ...
Crystal City Internment Camp - Wartime Incarceration
... than real military necessity", as reported by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians ... Department regarding internal security and the internment of enemy aliens in the fall of 1941 ... A subcommittee of the two departments pushed for the U.S Army to control internment procedures during the war, but the majority of the committee thought otherwise ...