Pier 21, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Pier 21

From the late twenties to the early seventies, Pier 21 was Canada’s ‘front door’ to over a million immigrants, refugees, troops, wartime evacuees, war brides and their children. It has been compared to New York’s Ellis Island, and is intrinsically linked to  Canada’s multicultural national identity. In 1999 the building at Pier 21was refurbished and reopened, to pay tribute to those who had passed through its doors, enriching our cultural landscape immeasurably. Now Canada’s last surviving ocean immigration shed, Pier 21 explores a key part of our heritage through interactive exhibits, multimedia presentations and activities for all ages. Pier 21 hopes to officially become a National Museum, telling the story of immigration and nation-building to all Canadians.

Video Report

Judges' Comments

Audio Nominations

Email Nominations

Did You Know

Video Report

Pier 21 VideoPier 21, Halifax (2:40)
From the achieves of CBC: The National, June 30, 1999

More than a million Canadian immigrants entered Canada at Pier 21 in Halifax. Pier 21 has been transformed into a museum.

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Judges' Comments

Listen Now Judges' Comments (1:00)

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Audio Nominations

Listen Now Pitch (1:12)

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Email Nominations

Franz Dembeck

I nominate Halifax's Pier 21 for one of Canada's wonders. We are a country of immigrants and this gateway into Canada for hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their progeny started the process that would shape us all as Canadians. After 55 years in this wonderful country, there is still nothing that grabs my soul, my imagination, puffs out my chest and yes, even brings a little tear of joy to my eyes, than walking through Pier 21's doors onto the sacred ground that made it possible for me to become a Canadian. Thank you, thank you, Canada and thank you CBC for this wonderful opportunity.

Marilena Dracea-Chelsoi

Pier 21 is a symbol of Canadian policy of multiculturalism and encouraging of immigration. It represents the hopes with which so many people came to Canada in hope of a better life. Pier 21 is a wonder as Canada succeeded in solving a paradox: unite a diversity of people of different ethnic origins and make them feel at home.

Stefani Angelopoulos

Pier 21 is more than a museum, it is a place to celebrate Canadians, preserve memories and share stories. It is the place where over a million people took their first step in Canada and went on to shape Canada as we know it. Open as a major immigration centre from 1928 through 1971, today 20 percent of Canadians have a direct link to Pier 21.

Pier 21's dream is to tell the story of all immigration to Canada. Its new mandate includes a broader story of nation building with new exhibits that highlight the early beginnings of Canada (including First Nations) and concentrate on immigration from 1867 through to the present day. Once directly relevant and appealing to all Canadians, Pier 21 will be a national centre for celebrating Canada’s rich cultural diversity.

Rema Celio

As a first generation Canadian, I would have to nominate Pier 21 in Halifax as one of Canada's Seven Wonders. I have heard many stories from people including my parents, who travelled to Canada from Italy, and I have been moved by their experiences and what their reactions were to Canada when they first arrived. I cannot image what it must have been like for them to leave their homes and to travel such great distances, hoping for a better life and future.

Did You Know?

Pier 21 has an ongoing Oral History project. If you or a member of your family immigrated to Canada – either through Pier 21, or more recently onboard a plane or boat, they welcome your stories and memories.

For more information, go to www.pier21.ca/research/collections/oral-history-collection/.

A sample of the questions asked of immigrants passing through Pier 21:

  1. Can you read?
  2. Have you or any of your family ever been: mentally defective?
  3. Physically defective?
  4. Tubercular?
  5. Money in possession belonging to passenger?
  6. What trade or occupation did you follow in your own country?
  7. Have you ever been refused entry or deported from Canada?
  8. By whom was passage paid?
  9. What trade or occupation do you intend to follow in Canada?

(Source: Pier 21 Website)

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