From 1928 to 1971, more than one million immigrants entered Canada through Pier 21 on Halifax’s waterfront. Today, one in five Canadians have a link to Pier 21, and it played an instrumental role in the building of the “nation of immigrants.”
Construction of the Pier began in 1912 but was put on hold after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Work recommenced in 1926 and finished in 1928. It would go on to become the main hub for Canadian immigration.
Immigration was booming during Pier 21’s years, and sometimes as many as seven ships carrying immigrants arrived on the same day. However, the port did see its ups and downs. While immigration rates were initially high, restrictions were put in place during the Great Depression, which led to a serious drop in numbers. Immigration stopped almost entirely with the start of World War II, a time when the Pier became an embarking point for a total of nearly half a million soldiers heading overseas.
During the war, almost 2,000 child evacuees arrived from the UK, and a few years later, the Pier saw the entry of thousands of war brides, British women who married Canadian soldiers during the war. The government brought these women and children over to Canada so that they could reunite with their loved ones after the war. The post-war era also saw the arrival of Displaced Persons and Holocaust survivors from all over Europe.
The peak of immigration occurred in the 1950s, triggering the building of a two-story addition. This boom did not last long though, and by the 1960s, numbers were dropping due to the rise in popularity of aircraft travel. The last major group of immigrants was a group of 100 Cuban refugees who arrived in 1970. The Pier officially closed its doors in 1971.
In 1997, Pier 21 was designated as a National Historic Site and has since been carefully restored and converted into a museum. To learn more about the fascinating history of Pier 21, visit the Canadian Museum of Immigration in downtown Halifax.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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