Pier Perspectives Blog

  • How a Chicken Pox Quarantine Brought one Family to Canada

    Canada would have lost Margarita Bruehler nee Sosnowsky to Paraguay if her brother hadn’t come down with the chickenpox.

    Margarita’s early childhood memories are dominated by her family’s escape from Russia in 1943 and life in the battleground of German occupied Europe.

  • Quarantined on the Journey Over to Canada

    Being quarantined while travelling to Halifax with her baby was frightening for British war bride Audrey (Hawes) Doyle Ash. Audrey was onboard the Queen Mary when she and Patrick were put into isolation with others.

  • Finding Humour and Strengthening the Family Bond During Quarantine

    Herman Blom had secured a job as a welder in Saskatoon and the family was on their way, but their brief quarantine left him jobless.

  • Learning How to Eat a Banana in Quarantine at Pier 21

    A brave little girl named Aljas Peep spent her first days in Canada under quarantine. She was born in Estonia in 1941 during the first Soviet occupation. She and her mother fled to Germany in 1944, just ahead of the Russian re-occupation.

  • Postwar Immigration through Pier 21

    V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, May 8, 1945, marked not only the beginning of the return home from Europe for Canadian military personnel, but also a new period in immigration to Canada. During the war, immigration had slowed almost to a standstill. The postwar situation completely upended this inactivity. People from all over Europe began to arrive, and Pier 21 became the busiest ocean port of entry in the country. The circumstances of these newcomers varied greatly. Some were war brides seeking to rejoin their Canadian soldier husbands, some were Displaced Persons and political refugees who had undergone the destruction of their homes, environment, and security, and some were simply seeking greater opportunity.