Two large stands with exhibition text and images. Two Zeddy bears are featured: one on a cot and one on a stand.

Operation Parasol: Urgent need, swift action

May 3 to July 28, 2024

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the resettlement and repatriation of Kosovar refugees. Approximately 7,000 Kosovar refugees fled the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999.  Thousands of Kosovar refugees found a safe haven in Canada through Operation Parasol, a quick and effective collaboration between the Canadian government and humanitarian groups.

The exhibition features an artifact case showcasing a “Zeddy Bear” given to children by former Canadian Department store chain Zellers, upon arrival in Canada, and an invitation to celebrate the successful movement of Kosovo refugees into Canadian society. It will also include a set up of a military cot used at the bases to quickly settle the refugees.

“We came here about…Stenkovec from the airplane. Here is so nice. The people is really nice. It’s very good people, very good place. But home is home.” Nita quoted in “Canada’s Humanitarian Tradition: Kosovo Refugee Arrival,” Government of Canada, last modified December 16, 2015.

“We want to make sure they had all their needs taken care of…many of them…were exposed to…some traumatizing scenarios…” Ismael Aquino, Canadian Red Cross nurse, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 Oral History Interview [14.11.07IA]

A group of Kosovar refugee children pose on a dirt path, several of them holding up peace signs.


A white woman in a Red Cross vest kneels in front of a Kosovar refugee family, including a man, two teenagers, and a baby.


A Kosovar refugee smiling and holding up a small Albanian flag in front of an airplane.


Large groups of Kosovar refugees waiting outside of military tents, with busses in the background.