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Media Advisory
October 1, 2020
Halifax, NS

Search for the First Families of Pier 21

Late February, more than 90 years ago the steam ship Nieuw Amsterdam departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands and landed at Pier 21 on March 8 1928. It was the first ship to arrive at the newly opened Pier 21 and an historic moment at what would become the gateway to Canada for nearly one million immigrants over the next 43 years.

One of the amazing resources at the Scotiabank Family History Centre is the manifest of this first ship’s passenger list. In celebration of the release of our book Pier 21: A History, staff carefully transcribed the names, dates, points of departure and other information from the hand-written manifest. Now we are sending it out into the world to find connections and share the immigration stories of these First Families of Pier 21.

All are invited to learn more and view the list accessing Museum’s blog:

Readers who recognize a family name are encouraged to connect with the Scotiabank Family History Centre at Staff will verify your name and family’s immigration history and take your contact information. A Museum representative will contact you with an opportunity to share your First Family of Pier 21 story.

Quick Facts:

  • On February 28, 1928 the Holland America line steam ship Nieuw Amsterdam departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands and arrived at Pier 21 on March 8, 1928. The 54 people disembarking at Pier 21 included passengers from Holland, Lithuania, Germany, Romania, Russia, Yugoslavia, Finland, and Greece. They were all headed westward, to Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.
  • The Scotiabank Family History Centre is the Museum’s research centre where visitors can have assistance tracing their family history and immigration timeline. Learn more here:
  • Pier 21: A History by Steven Schwinghamer and Jan Raska, co-published by the Canadian Museum of History, the Canadian Museum of Immigration, and the University of Ottawa Press, is the only full-length history of the site written by Museum staff.

Countless Journeys. One Canada.
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is located in the national historic site at the Halifax seaport where nearly one million immigrants landed in Canada from 1928 to 1971. Today, as Canada’s sixth national museum, we share the ongoing story of immigration to Canada—past to present, and coast to coast. Our exhibits immerse visitors in the immigration experience and allow for a deeper understanding of how newcomers shape our country. Our staff and collections provide opportunities for visitors to discover the countless journeys to Canada and find their own family’s connection to the story.


Media Contact

Jennifer Sutherland, VP Communications and Partnerships
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Telephone: (902) 425-7770 ext. 289