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The Immigration Story of James Buchanan (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.

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Date of Arrival: 
April 4 1949
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We were delighted to read and confirm our own experiences on arrival, as we disembarked into Pier 21 to be cleared by immigration we were treated royally by lots of people inside the building making a great experience and a pleasant surprise after a great journey, getting us prepared for the next part. You will note our son was one year and five months old when we arrived, the ship had not been converted back from a troopship, the ladies and children were together and the men were together, I think about half a dozen or eight per cabin, so you can imagine the woman arriving at Halifax, the people who met and helped us when we came inside that large hall took over, taking the children and babies from us and changing them and feeding them and helping us all get familiar to our new surroundings, we got a 50 box of Sweet Caporal cigarettes with congratulations from the Prime Minister of Canada.

Most of us did not have a great deal of finances in those days and we still had a long journey ahead, we were going by train to Edmonton, Alberta. I often think back to then and am grateful for the kindness and hospitality shown us all on arrival. We boarded a train, I think it had what they called colonial coaches on it, sleepers and a small galley at one end of the coach in which you could make coffee or tea and some sandwiches, the train was made up and passengers boarded, we then took off. I think we stopped over in the Montreal area, I am sure the train was separated at this point, some going to the Toronto area and some of us going west from there. I was fortunate to meet up with a family travelling out to Alberta like us, this is the reason I would like to find the passenger list of our journey on the Aquitania, this family I am sure were or boarded from Ireland, they left us at Lloydminster Alberta, they were a large family, husband, wife and I am sure over a half dozen children with them, I recall him telling me he was going close to Vegreville Alberta to a brother I believe was farming. The brother had told him about the facilities on the train, at Halifax when I met him boarding he went out and bought some groceries and milk and stuff like that to feed the children, he let me participate with him, in buying and cooking the food, it made the trip more interesting. I am sorry to say I do not have any idea what their name was, so the reason I am hoping you will be able to help me, being such a large group travelling together. Also if the boat pulled into Ireland on the way across and picked up some passengers, I know she picked up a large group of people from Europe especially Dutch immigrants. We used to all meet and have classes on language and culture and so on.

As you will note it was a great experience and a wonderful way to start a new life for us all, we have no regrets and have enjoyed our life here in Canada. Last April we received from our Member of Parliament Ms. Paddy Torsney a lovely document congratulating us on our fifty years in Canada of which we are very proud.