Between 1928 and 1971, nearly one million immigrants landed in Canada at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. During those years, it was one of the main ocean immigration facilities in Canada, including when it welcomed home nearly 400,000 Canadians after service overseas during the Second World War. In the immediate postwar period, Pier 21 became the busiest ocean port of entry in the country.
Today, people across Canada still enjoy connections to Pier 21 through family history and stories of arrival at the site. Since 1998, researchers at the Pier 21 Interpretive Centre and now the Canadian Museum of Immigration have been conducting interviews, reviewing archival materials, gathering written stories, and acquiring photographs, documents, and other objects reflecting the history of Pier 21.
Pier 21: A History builds upon the resulting collection. It presents a history of this important Canadian ocean immigration facility during its years of operation and later emergence as a site of public commemoration.
Published in English. Also available in French: Quai 21: Une histoire.
About the authors
Steven Schwinghamer is a historian at the Canadian Museum of Immigration and holds an MA in History from Saint Mary's University. Since joining the Museum in 2000, he has conducted over two hundred interviews and has written numerous scholarly and popular articles about the history of Pier 21.
Jan Raska est historien au Musée canadien de l’immigration. Titulaire d’un doctorat en histoire de l’Université de Waterloo, il est l’auteur de l’ouvrage intitulé Czech Refugees in Cold War Canada: 1945-1989.
- Short-listed, 2020 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards, History
- Long-listed, Canada's History's 2020 Book & Gift Guide
Excerpt: Pier 21: A History (by (author) Steven Schwinghamer & Jan Raska)
Halifax’s Pier 21 is a place of beginnings. Between 1928 and 1971, almost one million immigrants entered Canada at the site. This includes those who arrived when immigration was restricted during the Great Depression, those who arrived as refugees or displaced persons after the Second World War, and those who arrived in the later years of relative economic prosperity in Canada. These people began new chapters in their lives at Pier 21.