Family from both my parents immigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe. My father’s family came from Romania, my mother’s family came from Lithuania. While the two families came to Canada at different times and from different origins, they all had one thing in common. They entered Canada in Halifax and were processed at Pier 21.
Pier 21 was an immigration centre where close to 1.5 million people entered Canada between 1928 & 1971. This facility is often compared to Ellis Island in New York, in terms of its importance to mid – 20th century immigration to Canada.
In 1990, the Pier 21 Society was co-founded by two individuals. One of them was a cousin of my mother, Ruth Goldblum. Ruth became President of the Pier 21 Society and headed up the fundraising efforts to renew the derelict facility. On Canada Day 1999, Pier21 was re-opened as a museum celebrating Canada’s immigrants.
Today the museum has both a physical artifact collection and a vast oral history collection. Pier 21 currently has 2,000 stories, 300 films, 500 oral history interviews. 700 donated books and thousands of archival images.
I encourage everyone to visit Pier 21 via the web, or in person. It is a marvelous collection of memories of many of our ancestors whose foresight allowed us to live in one of the world’s greatest country – CANADA.
Peter C – Director, Triovest