Skip to the main content

The Immigration Story of Dorothy MacKenzie-Payne (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.

Culture : 
Country of Origin: 
Port of Arrival: 
Creative Commons: 
Accession Number: 

Story Text: 

Dorothy Mackenzie-Payne Memories of Her Aquitania Voyage

My memories of our voyage on the Aquitania from Southampton, England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. March 16th, 1948.

As a youngster of 4 and ¾ I recall:

• Sleeping in a large room with bunk beds on the ship.
• Afternoon tea in the dining room, I always had ginger ale so that I could study the map of Canada on the bottle.
• Our strolls about the decks, staring at the sea all around us while my Mom, my Aunt and I chatted with the other passengers and my brothers Ron and Bill were “helping” captain Snow, steer the ship.
• After our 7 to 8 day crossing seeing land, coming into Halifax harbour, the bustle as we collected our luggage , waiting in line for our names to be called, holding my Aunts hand tightly as we walked down the gang plank into the “unknown” at Pier 21. Meanwhile my Mom was chasing (keeping track) of my brothers aged 9 and 11 who were thrilled with our adventure.
• Being ushered into a fully fenced (floor to ceiling) compound with a cement floor, not able to touch Canadian soil. When the Red Cross workers discovered that my Aunt was a Registered Nurse from Glasgow she was asked to assist them with checking the passengers, she agreed only if I could stay with her. I asked why some passengers had to go back to the ship, they did not pass the health requirements and were returning to Britain. It terrified me that my family may be separated.
• As the sun was rising we boarded the train for Toronto, my family was together.
• The train stopped in Kingston and there was my Dad on the platform with a big smile on his face and dressed like a Canadian.
• Thus began our lives in Canada.