Pier 21 Immigrant Museum      

“Our little daughter looked very hungry and miserable.
He took us into his office and sent out for cocoa and fig Newton cookies.
As long as I live, I’ll never forget how good those cookies tasted to us.”

excerpt from article by Denis Gibbons

photo courtesy of Pier 21


For many years, from the 1920's to the 1970's, Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia was Canada's "front door" to over 1,000,000 immigrants.   Pier 21 is Canada's equivalent of New York's Ellis Island.  From its port, Canada welcomed refugees, war brides, soldiers, wartime evacuees, and their families. 

In 1999, funding was provided for Pier 21 to become a National Museum.  Through exhibits, multimedia presentations, and interactive displays Pier 21 explores Canada's heritage and tells the story of immigration and nation building to all Canadians.

Pier 21 has taken on the mission of collecting and preserving the oral stories of immigrants including stories told by the children of immigrants. Today, it has a collection of over 1600 immigrant stories telling of their hardships and experiences of settling in a new country.   It is continuing to collect stories from new immigrants to add to its archives.


In an editorial written for the Winnipeg Free Press,
Rev. Karen E. Poole said all Canadians should be required to visit the site.

“It should be put on our required list in order to be a citizen,” she wrote.
“If we did, it could well be the end of prejudice, bigotry and hate;
because we are all rooted in an entry port,
like the gates of heaven to a whole new world,
like a paradise, where not one of us felt at home,
yet every one of us was an immigrant seeking a home,
unless indigenous and offering hospitality.”
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Photo on the left is a magazine cover of Canadian Illustrated News dated August, 1880.  Titled, "Come to Stay",  it showed a Canadian woman, welcoming immigrants.