• October 2021
  • Nikka Yuko Team Gets First Look

    October 5, 2021 - The staff at Nikka Yuko got their first look at the progress being made at the Bunka Centre. The team will begin moving into the Bunka Centre in late October and the public will get their first look when the garden reopens for the Winter Light Festival on November 26.

  • September 2021
  • Sod Laying

    Sod is placed around the outside of the Bunka Centre and the landscaping is completed. The exterior of the building is also finished.

  • August 2021
  • Front Entrance

    August 10, 2021 - Nikka Yuko Executive Director Michelle Day gets her first tour of the new building to see the work being done. Pictured is the wood paneling of the main entrance to the Bunka Centre. 

  • July 2021
  • Exterior Developments

    July 28, 2021 - Work done on the exterior of the building continues to develop with concrete pathways and siding of the Bunka Centre. 

  • May 2021
  • Motion for Bunka Centre Presented & Approved by City Council

    May 4, 2021: City Council is presented the motion for the naming of the Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre. This motion is approved by Council. 

  • April 2021
  • Window Installation

    April 28, 2021: Installation begins on the final set of windows. 

  • April 2021
  • Concrete Pour

    April 21, 2021: Concrete pour in the Bunka Centre with Maverick Concrete & Burnco Rock Products. 

    (Photo by Terrell Sprecher)

  • April 2021
  • Society Presents Bunka Centre as Proposed Name for Cultural Centre

    April 15, 2021-Lethbridge residents and Nikka Yuko supporters alike will soon be able to enjoy and benefit from the unique cultural centre being constructed at the garden, provisionally named the Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre. The Lethbridge and District Japanese Garden Society presented the name to the Cultural and Social Standing Policy Committee today and spoke to the Society’s plans to honour the many visionaries whose dedication is reflected throughout the garden. The Committee will present the name at a future City Council meeting.

    Bunka, pronounced boon-kah, means culture in Japanese. As the garden is known as the “Gem of the South” the Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre will engage the community and guests with cultural experiences and programs offered by the Society. The Bunka Centre will also provide space for the community to celebrate and gather for their own cultural purposes, events, and activities. The Centre will be a hub for Henderson Lake users as a year-round place to enjoy, whether they are grabbing a coffee or tea from the café or relaxing with friends and family. In total, the facility will include two dedicated exhibit spaces, a café, and rentable spaces for meetings and community events, the largest with a capacity of 100 people.

    Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden’s founders will be honoured in the new Bunka Centre through exhibits and spaces dedicated in their names. These include Cleo’s Café (named after Cleo Mowers), the Kawamura Room (named after both Reverend Yutetsu and Yoneko Kawamura), Dr. Hironaka Room (named after Dr. Bob Hironaka), Dr. Kubo Room (named after Dr. Tadashi Kubo), and the Dr. Sugimoto Commons (named after Dr. Masami Sugimoto).

  • March 2021
  • Roof Construction Completed

    (Photo provided by Friction Fit Framing)

  • February 2021
  • Roof Construction Begins

    February 24, 2021: Trusses arrive for the Bunka Centre and work begins on the roof.
    (Photo provided by Friction Fit Framing)

  • 2020
  • Framing Reaches Completion

    December 15, 2020
    (Photo provided by Friction Fit Framing

  • 2020
  • Nikka Yuko Receives Community Foundation Grant

    December 17, 2020: The Lethbridge & District Japanese Garden Society is pleased to accept a $15,000 Community Priority Grant from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwestern Alberta. This money will go towards developing our interactive digital media equipment for our new building. 

  • 2020
  • Walls Go Up

    December 10, 2020: Construction is coming along quickly with the new building and the walls are starting to go up! 

  • 2020
  • Art's Alive and Well in Our Homes

    Art's Alive and Well in the Schools, a yearly art exhibit put on by all the Lethbridge city schools within the Holy Spirit Catholic School Board, Lethbridge School Division and École La Vérendrye, is usually displayed in cooperation with the Southern Alberta Artt Gallery in the spring. 

    However, due to COVID, this was turned into a virtual exhibit called Art'sAlive and Well in...Our Homes! The exhibition consists of artwork created at home and submitted by children from all the schools. A sample of these artworks are being displayed along the construction fencing around the new Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre.

  • 2020
  • Construction begins on new building

    Construction has begun in the green space outside of Nikka Yuko's garden walls. 

  • 2020
  • New Building Ground Blessing Ceremony

    On September 11, 2020 the Lethbridge & District Japanese Garden Society blessed the ground for the Nikka Yuko Bunka Centre. Elder Calvin Williams presented the Land Blessing and Reverend Yasuo Izumi presented a Calming of the Earth Spirits Ceremony. 

    In attendance were members of the Society, Mayor Chris Spearman, the Consul-General of Japan Mr. Kobayashi as well as key members from the City of Lethbridge who have been integral to the success of this project. 

  • 2019/2020
  • April 6

    City Council votes 7-2 to move the project forward

  • 2019/2020
  • March 30

    Society does a presentation regarding the operational costs of the new building and fee for service needs

  • 2019/2020
  • March 23

    Postponement due to COVID-19 - New meeting date set for March 30

  • 2019/2020
  • March 16 - 20

    Society provides Council with information regarding operations and need for new building to continue

  • 2019/2020
  • March 16

    Society provides Council with information regarding operations and need for new building to continue

  • 2019/2020
  • March 4

    Society provides Council with information regarding operations and need for new building to continue

  • 2020
  • February 24 Meeting

    Decision was postponed/tabled due to CIP groups not having enough time to respond to the motions and more information was needed by groups

  • 2020
  • City of Lethbridge

    Council put forward a motion to discontinue the project on Thursday, February 20 for the Monday, February 24 meeting

  • 2020
  • City of Lethbridge

    Construction drawings were submitted to City for review and discussion on starting the RFP for construction

  • 2019/2020
  • City of Lethbridge KPMG Review

    City Council requested a report on the status of ALL CIP projects approved for review.

    Society working with City Manager and Administration on a Joint Operations Committee to find effective and efficient ways to work together.

    This includes continuing the Fee for Service Contract Discussions that are going year from year.

  • 2018/2019
  • RFP for Architect Awarded

  • 2019
  • New Building Program Development

    University of Lethbridge - Centre for Oral History & Tradition

    Lethbridge College - AV and VR Programming development

  • 2019
  • Society Hires Exhibit Consultant (Society Paid)

    Phase One study done on the exhibit piece. Exhibit research and design in coordination with new building design

  • 2019
  • Public City Engagement - City of Lethbridge

    ATB Centre open house on all City projects including Nikka Yuko - information on the design (City & Society collaboration)

  • 2019
  • World Attraction Consultants (Society & Government of Alberta)

    Vision XS - Nikka Yuko focused on design, space, products and operational cost business planning

  • 2018
  • 4 Year City Budget Cycle

    Society presented a 4 year plan as per City process. Increase was for covering basic staffing without the new building for 2 years (September 2018)

    City and Society agree that a year by year contract until more information of design and operation of the new building was complete (Approved in 2018/2019)

  • 2018
  • World Attraction Consultants (Society & Government of Alberta)

    Vision XS Market 5 Business Model Consultation (Market, Space, Experience, Cost, and Operations)

  • 2017/2018/2019
  • Society & Travel Alberta Cost Share

  • 2017/2018/2019
  • Society/Travel Alberta

    Nikka Yuko signs contract with Viator & Expedia and starts to promote Nikka Yuko to the travel trade

  • 2017/2018/2019
  • Canada's WestMarketplace

    Nikka Yuko is the first and only Lethbridge attraction until 2019 to attend this travel trade conference to promote Nikka Yuko as a destination to worldwide companies

  • 2017
  • CIP Submission - New Building

    Capital Improvement Program (CIP) submitted by City department for consideration

  • 2017
  • Travel Alberta Paid Scholarship Program

  • 2017
  • Export Ready Consult &Training

    Society participated in learning about the travel trade and export ready products and experiences

  • 2016
  • Capital Project Grant- City of Lethbridge

    Planning assistance for a possible new building - Estimate One

    50/50 City & Society
    Society/City Collaboration

  • 2014/2015
  • University of Lethbridge Studies

    Initial Marketing & Final Marketing Research Report
    Feasibility Analysis
    Business Plan

    • 2013/2014
    • Donation

      $100,000 was given to Nikka Yuko by Mr. Alex Yanoshita in honour of Mr. Broder

    Corporate Sponsors