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The Immigration Story of Dianne Keats (English Immigrant)

The Museum reviews and accepts donated personal or family memories and histories into its collection. As a learning institution, the accounts help us understand how individuals recollect, interpret, or construct meaning from lived experiences. The stories are not modified by Museum staff. The point of view expressed is that of the author and not that of the Museum.

Category: 
Culture : 
Country of Origin: 
Port of Arrival: 
Language: 
English
Creative Commons: 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Accession Number: 
S2014.363.1

Story Text: 

My story and that of my sister is not the typical story of immigration.  My sister and I were born in the UK.  My mother had travelled to England to visit relatives in 1938. When the war  broke out, she stayed, and eventually married a man in the RN, and had two children.  In 1944, she decided  it was time to return to return to Canada.  I don't now how she received permission to travel.  Arrangements were made to travel on board the Queen Mary, which was mainly a troop transport at that time, to New York.  
I still have the transit visa to allow her and us to travel on to Toronto.  The story goes, we were to enter Canada at Fort Erie, which the train passed through in the middle of the night.  When the immigration man visited the train cabin, my mother would not let him take hers papers, for perusal, from her possession.  She was entered into Canada, but we were not, as the visa, and our photos were in the back of the passport.  We were asleep, it was dark, there was no indication we were on the train.  A few years later, in 1947, after my Dad had immigrated to Canada, and signed on with the RCN, and my brother was born, the rules regarding the receiving of  "family allowance" , as it was called then were changed. It was not now necessary to have been in Canada to be considered eligible. So my mother applied for my sister and I. Imagine our parents' surprise to be told there was no record of either of us in the country.
I can remember going to Pier 21 to be registered , but do not remember much of the procedure. I do remember having to stand on a chair  to have a chest X- ray.
This is not a compelling immigration story, but my sister and I have always wondered what the records say as to the actual date we entered Canada.  We didn't have any problems receiving our citizenship , or passports, so we must be here legally by now.