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Nova Scotia Provincial Heritage Fair
Pier 21: Gate of Hope and how it changed Canada
I chose Pier 21, HALIFAX, as topic for my Heritage Fair Project for 2 reasons : 1. I immigrated last summer from Germany and 2. I already visited the Pier 21 museum 3 times during my vacation the last years, and I love it! In my Heritage Fair Project I analyse the history of Pier 21, Halifax, its immigration history (1928-1971) its big meaning for all Canadians and Canada, its very important role during World War II and now its museum/research center history (since July 1st 1999). This year the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary...another good reason for making my project about it!! I made a big, big display board with lots of information and photos about Pier 21 and its history on it. A very immpressive point for me was that 1 in 5 Candians has a connection to Pier 21! That means 20% of all Canadians immigrated or have an ancestor who immigrated through the doors of Pier 21, Halifax!! And Pier 21 is furthermore the last surving immigration shed in Canada and therefore has a very important meaning for all Canadians and the history and building up of Canada! "In the last corner" of my display board I also have a photo and a little text about BallinStadt, Hamburg, Germany. That is a counterpart to the Pier 21 museum, it is an Emigration museum which I visited too when I still lived in Germany!! And....during our exhibition at Baddeck Academy an old lady came to my board, read my textes, watched quiet my lots of photos, had tears in her eyes and said then: I know everything, I came exactly through these doors in 1956! I was totally overwhelmed (I put later her photo on my board too!) and really can say: Yes, you find everywhere someone who has a connection to Pier 21!
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
"It is so important to preserve the history/past and its buildings so that further generation can visit them! If you destroy them you will never get them back in original and they are lost! I think it is so crucial to know where someone's roots are!"
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
A very immpressive point for me was that 1 in 5 Candians has a connection to Pier 21! That means 20% of all Canadians immigrated or have an ancestor who immigrated through the doors of Pier 21, Halifax!! You find everywhere someone who has a connection to Pier 21 or knows somebody who has a connection! Pier 21 really is such an sigificant symbol for all Canadians!
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
I came with my parents by airplane and lots of suitcases (besides the 2 containers which were deliverd by ship)! So I could bring all my stuff and I needn't have to leave things in Germany. My journey even was faster than for the former immigrants by ship to Pier 21. We drove directly by car to our house and work and do not had to wait for anything.