Pier Perspectives Blog
Reflections on Oral History Interviews from Prague Spring Refugees
Several refugees who arrived in Canada from the former Czechoslovakia after the 1968 Warsaw Pact Invasion shared their stories with the Museum in the form of oral histories. Reflecting on the commonalities of these stories led us to realize how unique each story is, even in such a specific moment in history. These diverse experiences help us to understand the complexity of the refugee or immigrant experience.
Reflections on a Green Door I: New Beginnings
“I know this door”, the thought was almost overwhelming. Somehow I has been mentally catapulted back in time almost 47 years and my brain kept repeating: “I know this door. It belongs here, almost in this position, but not quite…” But, how does one ‘know’ a door?
Signs of Agency in Refugee Narratives
Refugees and displaced persons who experience war, trauma, violence, or other limiting circumstances are still able to exercise individual agency in a variety of ways, even in situations defined by a loss of control. Czeslaw Tomaszewski, Lynda Dyck, Umeeda Switlo, and her mother Lella Umedaly are all people who were able to exert control in challenging situations, and further exercised their agency by remembering and sharing their life experiences through oral histories.
My Last Ten Years as an Immigrant to Canada and Working at an Immigration Museum
At the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, we collect and tell the stories of immigrants who came to Canada and continue to come to Canada to make a new home for themselves.
Eminently Suitable for Our Purposes: Official Commemoration of Immigrant Arrivals in Canada, 1949-1972During the early postwar period, Canadian officials attempted to commemorate immigration milestones in response to immigration policies that had opened Canada’s doors to thousands of European immigrants. These highly publicized receptions which included photo-ops, speeches, and gift-giving were used as a mechanism from which federal immigration officials could showcase that the ‘preferred’ or ‘ideal’ immigrant was white, young, preferably British, with the potential to become successful in Canada.