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The Immigration Story of Douglas B Keaney (Scottish 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: 
Date of Arrival: 
June 10 1950
Language: 
English
Creative Commons: 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Accession Number: 
S2012.724.1

Story Text: 

I traveled to Canada on the Georgic with my father James Patrick. I was 8 years old at the time. The sea journey began in Liverpool and lasted six days. We arrived in Halifax on the morning of June 10, 1950. My first memory of Canada was seeing the island opposite the Pier 21 dock. It was a clear, sunny, and warm morning. I can recall watching the dock workers in their bright red plaid shirts, just as I'd seen in the movies. No Indians in sight!

We entered Pier 21 at deck level and I recall being in a large room with lots of wooden benches and immigrant officials at one side with windows behind them and the sun shining in through the windows. Our family had planned to travel to Canada together from Scotland but my younger sister Joyce was ill and the decision was made for me to go with my father to meet up with my brother Tom and sister Cecilia in Woodstock, Ontario. My mother and brother Jim stayed in Scotland and came on at a later time, late July 1950. My father spent a good part of the sea voyage in the bar so I was left to roam the ship and had a wonderful crossing. However, at Pier 21 it was soon discovered that I was not listed on my father's passport but rather on my mother's. I sat with my father on the benches all day and into the evening until I was given a landing card to permit me to enter Canada. The story was told by my father that the immigration officers talked to him about sending me back to Scotland. Perhaps it was just a story.

At dusk on June 10th we were able to go down the stairs to the tracks of the CP station and immediately boarded the train for Ontario.

I recall the train stopping about an hour out of Halifax in the country beside a baseball field and I watched the players as the sun slowly set before the train moved on.