Cranes of hope and prayer

By David F. Rooney

Fold 1,000 cranes and the gods will grant your wish. If that’s true then they surely must be listening to Revelstoke where people across the community have been busy folding thousands of origami cranes to help commemorate the 100 anniversary of the March 4, 1910, avalanche that killed 58 CPR workers.

“We have about 5,000 at the Parks office,” Alice Weber, Parks Canada educational outreach worker, told a crowd of students at Okanagan College on Friday.

Weber said requests for instructions on folding the delicate-looking paper birds have come from people across Canada and the United States. The birds are being sent to Revelstoke and strung together. They will be used in the March 4 commemoration service at Grizzly Plaza to honour the 58 men who died.

The deaths resonate strongly in the Japanese-Canadian community and across the Pacific in japan. Tomo Fujimura has spent months researching the avalanche and its aftermath as 32 of the men who died were Japanese contract labourers.

He told the students at the college that three relatives of one of the dead workers will be here next week for the local commemoration service at Grizzly Plaza and he hopes others will attend ceremonies in Rogers pass this summer.

Here’s a video produced by the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier and Parks Canada with assistance from RSS and the Revelstoke Museum & Archives. And below that, photos from the crane folding session at the college. If you’s like to fold your own cranes at home you can find an instructional video at

Yuko Fujimura (back, left) and Alice Weber listen as Tomo Fukimura talks about how he has been researching the background of Japanese workers killed in the 1910 avalanche and has tracked down their relatives. David F. Rooney photo
First you fold this... and then you fold that... Parks Canada's Alice Weber instructs students at Okanagan College on the intricacies of folding origami cranes/ David F. Rooney photo
Just like this! Alice Weber shows Megan Shandro the best way to fold her paper square. David F. Rooney photo
Joe Daniels (left front) and Joseph Jacob get some personal direction from Parks Canada's Alice Weber. David F. Rooney photo
Parks Canada's Rob Buchanan captures a toddler playing with a paper crane during the college's origami exercise. David F. Rooney photo
Tomo Fujimura (right) shows children from the Strong Start program how to fold origami cranes. David F. Rooney photo
Yuko Fujimura (right), one of the organizers of paper crane program sponsored by Parks Canada, shows to men how to fold their squares of paper as Pam Doyle (left) works on her own crane. David F. Rooney photo,
Hundreds of colourful paper cranes fill a bin at the college. David F. Rooney photo
Bennie Chambers (left), Megan Shandro, Annie Hewitt and John Davies were among those many people who made paper cranes at the college on Friday. David F. Rooney photo
Patti Shanek (left) and Pam Doyle prepare to begin stringing completed paper cranes. David F. Rooney photo
Pam Doyle (left) takes a little instruction from Parks Canada's Alice Weber as she prepares to string paper cranes. David F. Rooney photo