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What is your vision for a culturally diverse and “integrated” community?

For the past decade the buzz word “integration” has anchored Canadian immigration discourse. Policy analysts, academics, immigrant settlement workers, newcomers and community members use the word “integration” to describe the ultimate goal of immigration and settlement. Yet, despite the term’s prevalence, there tend to be many different views on what “integration” means, in definition as well as in practice.

Certainly, in the post-Trudeau era of multiculturalism, use of the term “integration” reflects a shift in Canadian values. This shift represents a departure from an “assimilist” past towards an appreciation of cultural diversity and an emphasis on encouraging active citizenship and community membership of newcomers to Canada. However, some argue that “integration” is simply a semantic replacement for “assimilation,” with very little actually changing on the ground in terms of settlement experiences of newcomers to Canada.

More than a Building

Pier 21 today, as it was in years past, is a building. For visitors past and present, some find this site unmoving. They give little thought to what the walls and their surroundings have seen. For others, the site is precious and represents a new beginning in a country that they love. These individuals never forgot their first steps on Canadian ground. And I tend to agree with the latter, Pier 21 is much more than a building.

The story I’d like to share happened a long time ago but I will never forget it. It illustrates the significance of Pier 21 to the thousands of refugees and displaced people who arrived here during the 1940s and early 1950s, better than any of the histories that I have read or documentaries that I have seen.

Big Changes at the Offices of Pier 21

A blog from the Office Manager… I can hear the collective groan from the internet abyss, but fear not! The offices at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 are very much full of life!

You see, we have been under construction since December 2011 with major work (and my major involvement) as of January 2012. Five months of core drilling, conduit and the replacement of our HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units have given me the opportunity to learn a plethora of new language and appreciate a new wardrobe. Yes, I own a hardhat and a pair of STSP boots (high fashion does indeed belong on the worksite.) It has been one of my responsibilities to work with the team and keep organized as the construction project moves along and I would love to share these experiences with you.