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Family Bonds & Belonging
March 9 - November 3, 2019

Adults and children sit in the family area of an exhibit.

Click each image to see the full size photo.

What is family, anyway? Can you pick your family or is it determined by biology? Is family the people you share holidays with? Or, is it more of a feeling?

Family Bonds and Belonging honours and interprets the many ideas of family - those of biology, of choice, of association and of place. Through four themes - belonging, growth and change, gatherings and generations - the exhibition celebrates Canadian identity by exploring families and family history, linking past to present and province to nation.

Connect with stories from early and contemporary families. Explore the traditions of those who came as immigrants, and those who have always been here. Reminisce about your own family’s uniqueness and explore the joy and complexities of bonds and belonging. Family: It’s NOT all relative.



  • Look at the family photos, formal and fun, along the Portrait Wall and see how the concept of family changes, yet endures. Add your own family to the digital display with the hashtag #FamPhoto21
  • See tangible examples of family traditions represented by objects and heirlooms.
  • View traditional costumes and favourite items of clothing that portray different family roles through many generations.



  • To Oral Histories and recollections of family life and journeys to Canada together.
  • Feel nostalgic as you review home movies and films related to family life, traditions and growing up in Canada.


  • Kids can crawl through a pillow fort, play games and learn about the child’s important family role in their own special section.
  • Learn more about genealogy through activities and foster an interest in family research.
Royal BC Museum home page

This exhibition was originally produced by the Royal BC Museum and has been adapted by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Presented by

Scotiabank home page


What is family? Is it determined by blood? Or can you choose it? Is it your team? Your friends, your cultural group, your pets? There is so much to family. This exhibition invites you to explore what family means.

Family. It’s NOT all relative.

On now at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.