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Media Release
October 29, 2018
Halifax, NS

Last chance to see Refuge Canada at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

This is your final call. Refuge Canada, the most ambitious temporary exhibition that the Museum has ever done, will soon be closing. People of Halifax and surrounding area are reminded to visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 before Sunday, November 11th, to experience Refuge Canada’s powerful message before it’s gone.

Refuge Canada explores Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis. Using images, soundscapes, first person accounts and interactive artifacts Refuge Canada takes visitors on a journey that a refugee might face on their way to Canada. Beginning with the statement “no one wants to be a refugee, anyone can become one,” it moves through major waves of arrival from Second World War era up to present day.

The exhibition’s power is partly found in moments when visitors encounter the darker chapters of history when Canada was not as welcoming. Refuge Canada is in the end hopeful and inspiring as it recounts the many ways refugees have contributed to Canada and allows for visitors to share their own thoughts and experiences.

Do not miss this last chance to see Refuge Canada, a life-changing exhibition in Halifax for just two more weeks before it begins a national tour. 

Quick Facts:

  • Refuge Canada features case studies from major waves of refugees coming to Canada including German Jewish, Hungarian, Southeast Asian, Tamil and Rwandan among others.
  • Drawing on oral histories and quotes from personal accounts, Refuge Canada shares first person experiences. Original artifacts, archival and contemporary images and news footage connects visitors with real refugee experiences.
  • Refuge Canada was made possible with the support from the Ralph and Rose Chiodo Family Foundation.
  • Artifact of note: Gerhard Herzberg’s original Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1971.
  • Artifact of note: Desk set give c. 1947 by a German family to T.O.F. Herzer, head of the immigration branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway that contains a secret message from a family desperate to leave Germany.
  • Artifact of note: A UNHCR Refugee tent, fully set up and accessible to visitors.
  • Artifact of note: A yellow Star of David badge that Nazi authorities forced Jewish people to wear across occupied Europe, on loan from the Montreal Holocaust Museum.
  • Artifact of note: Inflatable raft similar to those used by refugees fleeing Turkey to Greece.
  • Artifact of note: Doll given to five-year-old Nhung Tran-Davies by a sponsor when she arrived in Canada in 1979. Thirty-nine years later she helped sponsor a Syrian refugee family and gave a doll to their daughter.


"Refuge Canada is the most ambitious temporary exhibition we’ve ever done, and it’s been an honour and a pleasure to bring it to life in our Museum. It’s also been a tremendous learning experience for Museum staff, from the curatorial, research and collections teams to public programs and visitor experience, who have all been instrumental in sharing its powerful message. For our visitors, there’s little doubt what an eye-opening experience visiting Refuge Canada can be. We’ve had incredible feedback from people who visited Refuge Canada and the ways it challenged and inspired them. We look forward to sending Refuge Canada across the country in a travelling version and know that at every stop it will resonate with the communities.” -Dan Conlin, Curator, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

“A person visiting Refuge Canada will be, no doubt, engaged in understanding the causes and effects of social, political and environmental upheaval which, as history tells is, is the human condition. What this person should keep in mind is that we are experiencing the greatest diaspora of refugees that the world has ever seen. For the refugees, their lives will be changed, some for the better, and some for the worse. To be a true citizen of this planet, it behooves us to document, witness and facilitate these global events with compassion, determination and cooperation.” - Reva Kanner Dexter, included in Refuge Canada, came to Canada as a refugee in 1949


Media Contact
Beatrice Houston Gilfoy, Communications Specialist
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Telephone: (902) 425-7770 ext. 264 C : (902) 430-3986

About the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 collects, shares and pays tribute to the Canadian immigration story. The Museum is situated in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Pier 21, the National Historic Site that served as the gateway to Canada for nearly one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971. Today, the Museum shares the stories and experiences of all immigrants to Canada, past to present day. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 enhances public understanding of the experiences of immigrants to Canada, highlights the vital role immigration has played in the building of our country and the contributions of immigrants to Canada’s culture, economy and way of life. It is Canada’s sixth national museum and the only one located in Atlantic Canada.