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Making a Legacy Gift:
A Simple Process with a Lasting Impact

Frances Swyripa

My mother liked writing wills. She redid hers repeatedly over her lifetime, mostly to tinker with various bequests after an addition to the extended family. She and her sister would huddle at the table with their lists, redividing the heirlooms inherited from their mother.

Grandma, a school teacher with United Empire Loyalist roots, had moved west from Nova Scotia after World War I and married a novice farmer from Yorkshire, England. My other grandmother, my Ukrainian baba, came to Canada in 1901, married a man from her native village, and joined the throngs of peasant settlers developing prairie homesteads. Two hugely different women, representing such diverse strands of the Canadian story, they made me, I thought growing up, “exotic.”

It should be no surprise that I ended up a historian of immigration and ethnicity at the University of Alberta. Or that when, in that capacity, I was invited to join the first Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 as a crown corporation, I jumped at the chance. My eight years there were the most rewarding of my professional life.

The last time I rewrote my will (I am my mother’s daughter), I locked in the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 as one of its beneficiaries. The historian in me saw it as a way to further the Museum’s work. More importantly, it was a way to honour the immigrant stories in my own family.

– Contributed by Frances Swyripa, PhD, Pier 21 Club member, former Museum Trustee and donor


Mary Campanella

Mary Campanella, the daughter of Italian immigrants who came to Canada through Pier 21 in the 1950s, visited us in 2013 and reconnected with the experiences of her parents who had passed through this historic gateway. Her father, a survivor of the Second World War after being a prisoner of war, then found strength and courage to immigrate to Canada to start a new life. She was inspired to make a legacy gift in honour of the place where both of her parents made their first steps in Canada.


Left to right: Sam Campanella (brother), Maria Cino (mother), Salvatore Campanella (father) and sitting is Mary Campanella. |
Mary and her father, Salvatore at a wedding in August 2011.

“I’ve had the joy of sharing so many great memories with her [Mary] and I am so grateful. She touched so many people around her, and we were all blessed to have known her.”
– Rita Ham, Mary Campanella’s Cousin

Consider a gift to the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in your Will.

For more information contact Maria Almeida, Donor Relations Manager, or call 902-420-6656.