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Turning Seven in Quarantine

One six-year-old made the best of long weeks of quarantine in Pier 21’s Accommodation and Detention quarters. Gerard Van Kessel arrived in Canada with his family in 1951.

“…two of my brothers had developed a contagious disease on board, I think it was mumps or whooping cough, I'm not sure which, we were in fact quarantined for three weeks and I turned seven in the quarantine camp in Halifax,” Gerard recalled.

“I think for a child, everything, as long as he gets the rest and eat and play a little bit, everything's fine. It didn't seem extraordinary to me at all on what I do remember is the matron.

“I do recall her taking us out for walks on the cobblestone streets of Halifax at that time. I recall that, but I don't recall much else to be honest. Yeah. It certainly wasn't traumatic in any way, shape or form.”

Thanks Gerald, we needed to hear that. Let’s make those our instructions for the day, get your rest, play a little bit and know that one day those might be things that you remember the most clearly and with the greatest fondness.

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (18.06.04GVK)