Immigration History Educational Package

Millions have come to Canada to live, settling on territory first occupied by Indigenous people. Many chose to come here. But many others were looking for safety from violence, discrimination or poverty. Some of their stories are happy; some are not. But they are all part of the Canadian story.

As war raged in Syria in the early 2010s, small groups of Canadians, as well as the government, got together to bring more than 50,000 Syrians here. In 2015 Basel Al Rashdan’s family came to P.E.I., where they’ve found peace … and cold winters!

About 120 years ago, a group of Finnish migrants decided to create a better life. Their dream became Sointula, a settlement on a B.C. island.

Older people in your family will remember the arrival of thousands of “boat people” who endured terrifying sea voyages as they fled Vietnam for Canada in the 1970s.

Everyone who lives in Canada has a different story about how they and their family ended up where they did. What’s yours?

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Our Thanks

We are grateful to the Department of Canadian Heritage for their support of this educational initiative.


Seeking Safety in Canada: Analyzing Canada’s Immigration History Through Stories

In this lesson, students will examine various events in Canadian immigration history.

A Child Evacuee – From England to Canada

This lesson examines the perspective of an evacuee child during the Second World War.


Rescuing Refugees

In this activity, students will learn about Canadians’ divided opinion on whether Indochinese refugees should have relocated to Canada.


A Question of Immigration

In this lesson, students will have an opportunity to analyze political cartoons from the late 1800s and early 1900s, read and research a specific immigrant group who came to Canada, and create their own political cartoon about this group.

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

Top Five: The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 curator Dan Conlin selects five favourite artifacts from the museum’s collection.


Canada's Refugees

Throughout its past, Canada has had a checkered history of welcoming people at its borders.