A long view of the gallery with the actual size colonist car in the center.

The Pier 21 Story

Step into the past and experience what it was like to immigrate to Canada through Pier 21. From the ship you sailed on, to customs and immigration in Halifax, to the train you took to your final destination, discover the past housed in the walls of our National Historic Site.

  • Stand in history. Imagine yourself tossing at sea in the tight quarters of a replica ship’s cabin and dining room and settling Canada’s west aboard a colonist railcar.
  • Peek inside a kist, a huge wooden crate some of our Dutch immigrants used to bring their belongings, both eccentric and large-scale, in the 1940s and 50s.
  • Get into character by playing dress-up in period costumes.
  • Pack your trunk. Then take our Customs Challenge to see which of your items will be allowed or confiscated.
  • Explore first-person stories, of newcomers and the people who welcomed them. Listen to their voices, find them in archival photos, study their trunks, luggage and personal treasures.
  • Find children’s trunks scattered throughout, poignant perspectives of those who immigrated as little ones.

Watch a trailer of our original film, in Canada