Thursday, August 30, 2012

If you know someone who emigrated to Canada before 1972...

you should let them know about this bit of sad news. Ruth Goldbloom passed away yesterday at the age of 88. She had contributed so much in her life, but she will be best remembered for getting Halifax's Pier 21 opened as Canada’s National Immigration Museum in 1999 (here she is in an interview from 2010 on CBC TV). From 1928 to 1971, Pier 21 was the 'point of entry' for 1.5 million immigrants and refugees to Canada  as well as the point of departure for nearly half a million soldiers in World War II, and after it closed, it became a seldom-used warehouse until a group co-founded by Mrs. Goldbloom raised money and advocated for the old immigration shed to be named a national historic site and renovated as a museum.

Many people go there now to get information on relatives who arrived in Canada through that facility, and for some people who visit that large brick building, it is a bit more personal. They get to relive the moment where they saw and entered Canada for the very first time in the exact same place, and many are overcome by emotion.

I have a close personal friend who has volunteered at Pier 21 for years and I myself volunteered there one summer. I worked with some fantastic people and had the honour of meeting the lady herself on several occasions. Fascinating woman, fascinating life, Rest in Peace Mrs. Goldbloom.

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