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A “Little” Coincidence

On March 13, 2012, I received an email from Bonnie Pollock of Nova Scotia who wanted to find out more about her great-great-grandfather George Little. He arrived in Canada from Ireland before 1837 and settled in Prospect, Nova Scotia. But there was no record of his arrival because Canada did not start keeping record of immigrant arrivals until 1865. Manifests from this time are few and far between, as not many of them survived. Knowing I would not be able to determine which ship he arrived on, I focused my search on determining where in Ireland the Little family is from. I began with some early genealogical research on George Little and his family in Nova Scotia, determining who he married and who his children were. I discovered that George married Mary Coolin and had the following children: James (b. 1840), Thomas (b. 1841), John (b. 1844), Peter (b. 1847), Ann (b. 1848), Margaret (b. 1854), George (b. 1856) and Mary (b. 1858).

A Volunteer Legacy

Word has gotten out that Lynn Brebner and Sylvia Yates are retiring as Museum volunteers after 13 years, and the response from other volunteers and staff has been quick:

“You’re not allowed to leave!”

Volunteers like Lynn and Sylvia are highly valued. They are treasured for their vast knowledge and experience at the Museum, just as volunteers were when Pier 21 operated as an immigration shed.

Between 1928 and 1971, when Pier 21 welcomed one million immigrants, refugees, war brides, evacuee children and displaced persons to Canada, volunteers played a very important role. They came from many different organizations, and worked tirelessly to welcome newcomers, to speak to them in their own languages and often to ensure that they had what they needed to start a successful life in Canada.


Welcome to my first blog here at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21! I’d like to share a bit of our collection with you today. After searching for interesting historical tidbits, I came across a few children’s ship and train menus from the 1940s and 1950s. These menus provide a unique window into how passenger travel evolved after the Second World War.

Today’s companies increasingly cater to younger passengers, aiming to highlight their services and products in hopes of attracting them and their parents. Youth now hold more spending power than they did in previous generations.

In the immediate postwar period, the majority of travel between Europe and Canada was by ship. As air travel became more accessible with increased routes, less time spent in transit and lower fares, passengers turned away from ships and trains.