Stories From Near and FarBook - 2015
From 1928 to 1971, a cavernous, shed-like building stood on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, greeting newcomers while bidding farewell to its own. Located in Halifax Harbour, Pier 21 was the first part of Canada visited by immigrants travelling from the East, and the last view of home for Canadians departing for Europe. To all Canadians, it was an iconic landmark that stood for something more than itself during a period of turmoil and change.
In Pier 21 , Anne Renaud sheds light on an experience shared by so many. In clear easy-to-read language, she chronicles the diversity of the immigrant experience and gives voice to those whose accounts might have otherwise been lost forever. Over the course of nearly half a century, Pier 21 welcomed more than one million immigrants, just as it saw nearly 500,000 service personnel off during World War II. Renaud records a wide range of experiences across different ages and backgrounds, exploring issues of prejudice, hope and uncertainty. Pier 21 reproduces the accounts of home children and guest children, soldiers and war brides, refugees and displaced persons-all carried to and from its doors by great ocean liners, military ships and small sailing vessels.
Filled with historic photos and educational sidebars, Pier 21 is a perfect lens through which to view Canada's evolving identity in the 20th century, and to understand the people who helped define it.