Refuge Canada

A knock comes on the door in the middle of the night.
You’re taken away because of your religious beliefs.

A bomb shatters your city.
In less than a minute, you lose everything.

The new governing power is anti-homosexual.
Does anyone know about you?

No one wants to be a refugee. Anyone can become one.

Come discover the forces and events that drive people from their homes, and experience their stories of loss, fear, and hope as you join them on their often dangerous journeys to life in a foreign land.

  • Climb in a life raft built for eight—what would it be like with 29 more in it?
  • Take a seat on a plane bound for Gander and hear real refugees talk about why they had to escape.
  • Step into a tent that could be a refugee’s home for weeks, months, or years.

Hear about refugee life from real people who started all over again in Canada, including a Nobel prize winner, world-famous musician, and former governor general.

Learn about Canada’s role in global refugee crises from the Holocaust through the Pinochet era up to present day. No matter what you currently think, prepare to be surprised.

An exhibition developed by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, Halifax.

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For refugees who escape by sea, a spot on a crowded boat can be the only way out. When safety looks like this … imagine what danger looks like.

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This is a UNHCR refugee tent, which they located in Montreal. So it was most likely used in North America. It was set for disposal because it’s quite old and they kindly donated it to us for this exhibit.

This tent is a part of Refuge Canada to show what temporary settlement living is like for different situations. In another section of the exhibit we have an apartment. People who are able to set up in a building they’ll have a little bit more security and four walls, but some people just need quick temporary settlement so they’ll get something like this tent.

People can learn what it’s like to live in close quarters with each other. How this might be your family’s living arrangements for maybe a couple weeks, one month, two months, a couple years. Just that you might think you’re only staying here for a week but then it ends up being a couple years. Or you might settle in and know that you’ll be there for a couple years. You can also learn how you can make do with very little objects in your living situation.

I also find it very interesting about water and how important water collection is. I’ve been collecting these water bottles for the last couple months with a friend from a restaurant. Just how important it is to make sure that you’re always having water and you’re always going out to get water.

It really depends on the situation. Some people might just move through a camp for a couple weeks but not knowing that they’re going to be spending several months or years. We have some Oral History interviews with people who have been in situations like this for years and that’s the reality of it.