Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Pier 21 in Halifax

Pier 21 stands out in my mind as the most emotional, interesting and memorable museum I have yet had the pleasure to visit.  Located on the Halifax Harbour, this port is where some 1 million immigrants landed in Canada between the years 1928 - 1971.  There was an incredible amount of information to take in.  I immersed myself most deeply into the personal stories, but what really moved me was experiencing, in a couple of hours, the evolution of our country, and how much has changed in how we treat each other.  While I got a strong feeling of the positive changes that have taken place over the years, I was still left with a heavy feeling of how much further we have left to go.  Not hopelessness, not at all, just the weight of of a very gradual change.  We're moving forward, just at a pace that is frustratingly slow.

Here are just a few things that stood out to me, and I will spare you the detailed history, but will include links to websites if you would like to read more about these events.

The museum does not try to shed a rose coloured light on Canada's history.  This is the first exhibit visitors
are greeted with upon entry and it instantly sets the tone for the rest of the tour.
After being denied entry into the country, and their safe return to Europe, over 200 of these passengers
perished in the holocaust.  You can read more about this event HERE.

An interesting ad from a newspaper.  I love the artwork.

Many of these original homesteads are still in existence today.  But as the old buildings
decay, and farms get bigger, they are slowly becoming unrecognizable.
 Of course, I was familiar with the Titanic, but I was shocked to learn of this devastating event.  It was one
of the most difficult exhibits to get through.  There were many sad stories, and terrible photos from the event.
You can read more HERE.
This letter was found more than two months after the disaster and was eventually returned to "Roger", who had
survived.  It caught my eye because it was from my home province of Saskatchewan.

I would not, not ever get back on a boat after surviving something like that.  Amazing.

A sad, but interesting part of our history.  Read about it HERE.

This photo speaks volumes, doesn't it?  The look of disappointment and sadness in their faces captured my attention, and even
now in a photograph of a photograph, I feel their pain deeply.
Emerging from the museum, you get the feeling of being on a ship moving through the water.  I actually even felt a little
sea sick.  But this was a beautiful place to sit and contemplate everything I had just learned.  The incredible scenery
also helped lift my mood a bit.


  1. No doubt very harrowing to read personal accounts of these events and how lives were affected. The view over the sea in the final photo does really lift the mood.

  2. You can't change the past, but even in a tiny way you can change the future. It's up to you.

  3. That is quite interesting history, some of it was so tragic. I don't believe I've ever heard of the Empress of Ireland, very interesting information about it. How sad though. It looks like you had a really interesting trip. Take care, Kelly.

  4. I read this post earlier, but got so caught up in reading your links that I never came back to comment! This was such an interesting post, and I love reading about this type of history in Canada. We're not any better than other countries when it comes to racism etc. That photo of the Japanese fisherman is so heartbreaking with the smug look on the naval officer while the poor fishermen are seeing their livelihood vanish before them. And how fascinating to find the letters on the Empress of Ireland from the poor souls who perished. What an emotional exhibit to work through.
    ps thanks for visiting, sorry I couldn't reply to you as you're a no-reply blogger :(

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