Pier Perspectives Blog

  • Digital Preservation is for life, not just the holidays!

    Preserving your digital memories

    With the holidays fast-approaching, it’s the perfect time to reminisce about get-togethers and good times spent with family and friends.

  • First Families of Pier 21

    On February 28, 1928 the Holland America line steam ship Nieuw Amsterdam departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands and was the first ship to arrive at Pier 21 on March 8, 1928.

  • The Immigrants: The Story of a Photograph

    This photograph, taken by Harry Cochrane, depicts immigrants arriving at Pier 2 in Halifax’s North End just before the First World War. Although the date, people, and ship are unknown, their faces and apparent emotions, as well as details such as the background and clothing, make this an interesting piece of history. We would love to hear from anybody who may know anything more about this photograph!

  • Quarantine Memories of Chicken Wire and an Uncomplaining Mom

    His sister’s case of the measles landed six-year-old Mike Sumner’s family in quarantine after they arrived in Canada in March of 1963.

    “I spoke to my dad and he thinks it was around 3 to 4 weeks that we were there,” Mike recalled. “The brick walls and the bars on the windows.

  • One Person’s Quarantine Room Divider is Another Person’s Fort

    Vita Seidler contracted the measles shortly after emigrating from Russia with her mother and siblings in December of 1928 to join their father in Montreal.

    “…my dad met us in Montreal…Ah, the excitement! I got off and we went to another cousin that we stayed with,” Vita explained.

  • A Scarlet Fever Quarantine and the Subsequent Adventures of a Spirited Little Girl

    Scottish immigrant Christina McKay Liness Murchison didn’t let a little scarlet fever get her down. Her family’s home was quarantined due to her illness in the early days after their arrival in 1930 on the Duchess of Richmond.

  • A Mother and Daughter Recall Frightening Days in Quarantine

    They were robbed on the ship to Canada and quarantined when they arrived at Pier 21, but the Haddad family still felt blessed.

    The Christian Palestinian refugees had already fled to Lebanon, then Syria, then Lebanon again.

  • Turning Seven in Quarantine

    One six-year-old made the best of long weeks of quarantine in Pier 21’s Accommodation and Detention quarters. Gerard Van Kessel arrived in Canada with his family in 1951.

  • A Quarantine Label on the Door Doesn’t Make the Best First Impression

    Things started getting complicated for English immigrant Jennifer Frances Taylor’s young family after they settled in Canada in June of 1950.

  • The Magical Quarantine Christmas of 1951

    Christine Schlechta was a 10-year-old German immigrant at the time of what she recalled as a magical quarantine Christmas.