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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.

A Mother and Daughter Recall Frightening Days in Quarantine

They were robbed on the ship to Canada and quarantined when they arrived at Pier 21, but the Haddad family still felt blessed.

The Christian Palestinian refugees had already fled to Lebanon, then Syria, then Lebanon again.

While Laima Haddad still hoped to return to her home one day, her family decided to come to Canada in June 1955.

Colour-Coded Quarantine and a Boy at Play

British evacuee child, Keith Alan Freeman made the best of his wartime quarantine experience.

His story starts with words that I hope children today will echo when they grow up and think about these challenging days.

“It must have been tough for my mother and aunt but my memories are of having a wonderful time,” Alan wrote.

“We had tricycles with fixed wheels (the pedals drove the wheels directly without a free-wheeling chain) so you braked by stopping pedalling.