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Children of the Pier: Adolescent Experiences of Arrival and Process

An often overlooked aspect of Pier 21’s site history is the immigration experience of children. Young newcomers are often mentioned in relation to the immigration process and the role of the Canadian state in processing immigration. Similarly, the efforts of voluntary service agencies including the Red Cross and its nursery, were instrumental in caring for young children as their parents used Pier 21’s amenities to rest, take a shower, secure food, or purchase tickets for train travel to their final destination across Canada.

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Does Anyone Have Any Questions?

As a Heritage Interpreter here at the Museum I have the opportunity to interact with the public on a daily basis. There are numerous reasons behind coming to Pier 21, but there is something universal I hope all visitors bring: questions. It might seem like a trivial thing, dear visitor, but your questions are immensely important. They are invaluable in helping me do my job, and to ensure you get the most out of your visit. I thought I would take a moment and share the reasons I prize questions so highly and why you should too.

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Stories of Children, War, and Family Separation in the Oral History Collection at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Oral histories are used in Museum research reports, in permanent and travelling exhibitions, on the Museum’s website, and by external researchers and other third parties. We still have much to learn from the oral history interviews, but one theme clearly reflected in many of them is war and dislocation. With the assistance of Alexandra Weller, a summer intern from Western University’s MA in Public History Program, we identified 39 interviews that most obviously reflected this theme.

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