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Search for the First Families of Pier 21

Late February, more than 90 years ago the steam ship Nieuw Amsterdam departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands and landed at Pier 21 on March 8 1928. It was the first ship to arrive at the newly opened Pier 21 and an historic moment at what would become the gateway to Canada for nearly one million immigrants over the next 43 years.

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Katarina Marinic - 2019 Artist-in-Residence

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is delighted to welcome Katarina Marinic as Artist-in-Residence for 2019. Katarina’s work is inspired by Family Bonds & Belonging, the temporary exhibition on display in the Museum’s Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery until November 3, 2019. Family Bonds & Belonging explores and honours the many different ideas of family, those of biology, of choice, of association and of place. The exhibition celebrates Canadian identity by exploring families and family history, linking past to present and province to nation.

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Mark Sakamoto in Conversation with Jeanne Beker

Woven together through interviews with his maternal grandmother, Mitsue Sakamoto, and paternal grandfather, Ralph MacLean, Mark Sakamoto’s Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents shares wartime recollections from contrasting sides of a human tragedy to offer a unique perspective on the idea of a Canadian family. Released in 2014 to sweepingly glowing reviews, Forgiveness also won 2018 Canada Reads, as defended by Canadian fashion journalist, icon and entrepreneur Jeanne Beker.

In 2017, Jeanne Beker donated a special trunk to the Museum. This simple wooden crate had accompanied her parents, Holocaust survivors, and sister to Canada in 1948 to begin a new life. Along with the trunk, Jeanne also shared her parent’s story of survival and rebuilding. The symmetries between Mark and Jeanne’s family histories, as descendants of survivors and bearers of a family trauma passed down, are part of what will make this next edition of Pier 21 Reads so powerful.

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