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The Magical Quarantine Christmas of 1951

Christine Schlechta was a 10-year-old German immigrant at the time of what she recalled as a magical quarantine Christmas.

“It was Christmas Eve, 1951, when we arrived in Halifax at Pier 21,” Christine remembered. “We were led into the large assembly hall lined with benches where we had to wait until our names were called. Then we were processed and our documents were stamped with the designation of landed immigrant.

No eggs or butter? Baking during difficult times is nothing new.

A woman wearing an apron and holding a spoon is saluting.

Credit: Economy Recipes for Canada’s “Housoldiers.” Toronto: Canada Starch Company Ltd. 1943. From Laurier House National Historic Site interactive exhibit “WWII Kitchen.”

How a Chicken Pox Quarantine Brought one Family to Canada

Canada would have lost Margarita Bruehler nee Sosnowsky to Paraguay if her brother hadn’t come down with the chickenpox.

Margarita’s early childhood memories are dominated by her family’s escape from Russia in 1943 and life in the battleground of German occupied Europe.

The family crossed many borders and found accommodations in freight trains, barns and refugee camps, she recalled. Some of her memories have faded but she will never forget the jubilation of war's end, and, eventually, the crossing to Canada. But the path to Canada would not be a straight one.