Skip to the main content

Finding Humour and Strengthening the Family Bond During Quarantine

Herman Blom had secured a job as a welder in Saskatoon and the family was on their way, but their brief quarantine left him jobless.

His daughter, Gysje Koenderink, recalled an exciting crossing in which she and her five brothers and sisters saw icebergs and whales and were treated to daily performances by their opera singing table steward. The Bloms expected to pass through Pier 21 quickly and be on their way but, as Gysje explains, something was wrong with her brother Wally.

Quarantined on the Journey Over to Canada

Being quarantined while travelling to Halifax with her baby was frightening for British war bride Audrey (Hawes) Doyle Ash. Audrey was onboard the Queen Mary when she and Patrick were put into isolation with others.

“We were a day and a half out to sea when a little girl got meningitis,” wrote Audry.

“Myself and my son, with four other mums, one with two children and one with one and one without a child, were quarantined to our cabin for the rest of the journey. It was very small quarters, but we made it work.”

Quarantine at Pier 21 Made Coming to Canada feel like being put in Jail

Being quarantined at Pier 21 meant a rough start to their Canadian adventure for the Blom family.

Shelly Blom was born in the Netherlands and in the spring of 1953 her parents decided to move.

“My parents had decided to leave our home in Apeldoorn to seek out new opportunities for their young family in Canada,” wrote Shelly.