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Thank You Canada

For 150 years, millions of people have come from far and wide to call Canada home. And while they each experience the challenges and opportunities this country provides differently, a common theme binds many of these stories together: the desire to build a better future for themselves and their family in their adopted home. In time for our country’s 150th birthday, we have selected a small sampling of unsolicited expressions of gratitude to Canada we found in our collection.

You can explore and discover these stories and a whole lot more in our online collection here. And whether you’re an immigrant or a third-generation Canadian, we encourage you to share your own Thank You to Canada on our Twitter or Facebook pages.

The Immigrants' Song
Your anthem dearest Canada we sing with pride and thanks
From the heart of all the immigrants who landed on your banks.

Our family came aboard the ship they call the Volendam
In nineteen hundred fifty one, a Canadian to become.

A call came out from St. Laurent to European shores
Come to our country proud and free and make our country yours.

Leaving friends and family my parents made the trip
And took my sister and myself by way of that great ship.

The voyage is but snippets in a memory so small
The tales were told of icebergs, and Quebec our port of call.

We left our homeland's friendly shores a family of four
Arrival in Quebec then found our numbers were one more.

Within the waters off your coast when moonbeams bow to dawn
Unexpected and premature a tiny babe was born

Internment camp and hospital our welcome to your land
Frightened what the future held the challenges demand

The trek across your vast expanse by rail we headed west
A newborn, toddlers and little else put family to the test.

We settled in a lumbertown along lake Huron's shores
Amid challenges and hardships the family did endure.

The family grew and prospered embracing each new day
As immigrants before them Canadians to stay

The oath was said with greatest pride and hand upon our chest
A promise made to our new land to give our very best
A generation later our children sing with pride
O Canada we thank you that your arms were open wide.
- Hemmina Hartzema-Comeau

We are grateful and thankful that we immigrated to Canada. If we had stayed in post-war Europe, none of us would have had the opportunities that Canada offered. As soon as it was legally possible, we became Canadians. Canada became our country and we love Canada.
Annette Petrovich, 1950
[S2012.198.1]
Life is hard for newcomers in Canada, but we enjoy every minute we spend together here. Now we have a lot of friends and we are helping new immigrants with their adaptation in Vancouver. We wish good luck to every new comer and be sure that Canada is the country were the dreams come true!
- Olesya Aleksandrova, 2007
Read Olesya's story, [S2015.21.1]
The Netherlands is our country of birth and always will be our homeland but now we are Canadian. We will be forever grateful to the staff and all who were, and are now, associated with Pier 21 for without them being there for us, we don't know what the alternative would have been. I recently visited there and was very impressed and moved with the result of the work that Dr Ruth Goldbloom and her staff have accomplished. Thank You Canada
- Gerard Veldhoven, 1954
Read Gerard's story [S2012.1049.1]
Thank you Canada, thank you dear Canadian friends, who helped us to feel here completely at home. God bless Canada and all the Canadians.
- Irina Ben-Tchavtchavadze, 1951
[S2012.469.1]
Our family has grown to number forty-three. We have had our share of sorrows, but also lots of joy. Life has been wonderful here in this marvelous country. I am thankful and grateful that I have had the opportunity to live here. Canada, in my opinion, the greatest country and the most generous, fine people to be found. I have been truly blessed.
Kathleen Udell nee Mummery, 1945
Read Kathleen's story, [S2012.1075.1]
I felt like a small grain of sand washed up on the shores, with many thousands of others. Many had stories, similar to mine, coming for refuge and with high hopes, to Canada. Fortunately my story has a happy ending. I fell as though some greater power must have been leading my unpredictable steps to the right places through the years. I am grateful to Canada for giving me the life I now enjoy.
Fedor Szugalew, 1951
Read Fedor's story, [S2012.1050.1]
I want to say Thank-You Canada for making this Beautiful country my Home for me and my beautiful family. And Thank You for making it all possible …
- Rudy Alonzi, 1951
Read Rudy's story, [S2012.394.1]
I look back on how Canada has changed me and my values. I think the hardest part of emigrating was changing the way I believed things should be done. I was brought up to understand that the British knew how to do things correctly. Because Canada is multi-cultural I learned that there is no right or wrong - just different. What a blessing - it removes so much stress from life when you accept differences. Thank you Canada for a wonderful forty years.
Adrienne Brown nee Drought, 1961
Read Adrienne's story, [S2012.579.1]
As time passed we came to grow in this land, and, if the truth be known, the land came to grow in us. Wy binne gelokkich (we are blessed).
- Kenneth Robert Vandenberg, 1953
Read Kenneth's story, [S2012.968.1]
Adjusting to life in Canada was a bit challenging in the first couple of months but I soon started meeting people and learning about the culture, going to university and being part of the community, it really didn't take much for me to feel at home and to develop. I'm not a Canadian citizen yet, but I already feel like one, Canada is a great country, it saved me and my family from an unknown future, it provided everything we need to prosper, I will forever stay grateful for what Canada has done for us. It is truly a generous country. God bless you Canada!
- Mayse Al-Haboobi , 2009
Read Mayse's story, [S2014.110.1]
I believe that Canada has given us the opportunity to become something meaningful of ourselves and contribute to the success of the community and to the Great country of Canada.
- Constantine (Alex) Foroglou, 1957
[S2012.696.1]
With all the hardships we went trough, my parents never complained. Every year got better and better. Canada is a great country. We all love our new homeland, its people and open spaces. From the seven people that arrived on Pier 21 on May 15th, 1951, we are now 57 proud Canadians. Thank You Canada!!!
Gertrude Froese (Friz), 1951
Read Gertrude's story, [S2012.673.1]
Canada allowed me to become a Canadian Citizen, gifted me a future, one of freedom of speech and religion, the opportunity to make choices, allowing me to determine my future! I am eternally grateful to Canada for all of these gifts and privileges! I recognize that I, as a Canadian Citizen, have duties and responsibilities to Canada! These I discharge with gratitude and pride, to respect the laws and customs of Canada, to be a productive and active member of my community, to support humanitarian organizations in Canada as well as internationally.
Ausma Rowberry nee Levalds, 1949
Read Ausma's story, [S2012.701.1]
Coming to Canada was the best thing that could have happened to me. Thank You Canada! for the opportunity and the many favours along the way.
Berthold Schaefers, 1952
[S2012.423.1]
Five years on I am now a Canadian citizen. The citizenship application took 16 months start to finish and was very straight forward. We are home owners and now have 4 children. We feel lucky that they are all growing up in the most wonderful country in the world. I will always remember where I came from but it is who I am now that matters. And that is part of a tolerant, diversified, multicultural nation that I am very proud to be a citizen of. I feel very lucky to be here. It was the best decision of my life (aside from marrying my wife of course).
- Paul Francis Callaghan, 2002
Read Paul's story, [S2014.183.1]
We have had a wonderful life in this country. My brothers and sisters join me in saying, Thank you Canada - definitely the land of opportunity! and God bless the staff at Pier 21 for making sure we, as a family, did not take on more than we could handle on that fateful day in February, 1955.
Jean Elizabeth Marlin nee Robson, 1955
Read Jean Elizabeth's story, [S2012.584.1]
My parents, brother and I would like to thank the Canadian government and its people for allowing us to be part of them, and we are. May God Bless this beautiful land called Canada.
- James Tufex formerly Dimirios Toufexopoulous, 1955
[S2012.597.1]