Pier 21
Pier 21, a former ocean liner terminal, is Canada's National Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It operated as an ocean liner terminal and immigration shed from 1928 to 1971 and became an immigration museum in 1999. Pier 21 is Canada's last remaining ocean immigration shed. The facility is often compared to Ellis Island, although this term is also used to describe the immigration station at Grosse Isle, Quebec.

Located in Halifax's South End in the Halifax Ocean Terminals, Pier 21 was used as a passenger terminal for trans-Atlantic ocean liners from 1928 until 1971. It replaced an early immigration facility at Halifax's Pier 2 in the Halifax's North End. Liners docked at a long seawall wharf divided into Piers 20, 21, 22 and 23. The immigration facilities were located at Pier 21, although the term is often used to describe all the Ocean Terminal piers. Pier 21 had a railway booking office and passenger train sidings for special immigration trains as well as an overhead walkway to the Halifax, Nova Scotia railway station. The Pier was the primary point of entry for over one million immigrants and refugees from Europe and elsewhere, as well as the departure point for 496,000 military personal Canadian troops during World War Two. The facility became known informally as the 'Gateway to Canada.' From 1971 until the late 1990s, Pier 21 sat as little-used warehouse space, although the former immigration quarters did provide popular studio and workshop space for artists. The ocean liner pier itself became increasingly used as the Halifax Port Authority's cruise ship dock. In cooperation with the Halifax Port Authority, Pier 21 was re-opened as a museum in 1999 and was added to the List of national historic sites of Canada. The goal of the Museum is to celebrate the Canadian immigration experience by honouring and sharing the stories of Canadian immigrants throughout history. As the nation’s last remaining ocean immigration shed, the Pier 21 Museum tells the stories of the 1.5 million immigrants and Canadian military personnel who passed through its doors between 1928 and 1971 and has sought to broaden its mandate to explore all immigration to Canada. On June 25, 2009 Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a Statement of Intentions to designate a National Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Pier 21 currently holds 2,000 stories, 500 oral history interviews, 700 donated books, 300 films and thousands of archival images and scans of immigration and WWII documents. Many of the resources can be found on the website and all can be accessed by contacting Pier 21’s Scotiabank Research Centre. The Pier 21 story collection has broadened from those who actually passed through Pier 21’s doors, to include stories about immigration from all points of entry from the early beginnings of Canada (including First Nations) and concentrating on all immigration from 1867 to the present. Pier 21 is collecting family histories that go back to 1867 and is eager to begin collecting stories from those that arrived after 1971. These stories will be among the raw materials used to create future exhibits. An Oral History Coordinator onsite conducts oral history interviews. These are vital to Pier 21’s collection and its ongoing commitment to preserving and sharing stories of all Canadians. The image collection includes thousands of scanned newspaper clippings, immigration related documents and ship memorabilia, as well as digital photos donated by individual families and many organizations.

MS St. Louis memorial
On January 19, 2011, a memorial monument to the passengers of the MS St. Louis , called "Wheel of Conscience" was unveiling at Pier 21. Designed by Daniel Libeskind with graphic design by David Berman and Trevor Johnston, it was produced by the Canadian Jewish Congress, The memorial is of a polished stainless steel wheel that reflects back the observers' feelings as they experience the focus of what led to the turning away of the passengers on the MS St. Louis. Symbolizing the hateful and racist policies that turned away more than 900 Jewish refugees, the wheel incorporates within it four gears of descending size, upon which each has a word inscribed to represent the transmission of influences that - in turning each of the smaller gears - sped up the process that led to the turning away of the vessel and its passengers from sanctuary - antisemitism , xenophobia , racism , and then hatred . On the back of the memorial is a list of the passengers aboard the MS St. Louis.

National Museum
As of 2009, the Government of Canada, Pier 21 Society, Pier 21 Foundation and the Halifax Port Authority agreed to partner in support of a new national museum at Pier 21. As the sixth national museum in Canada and only the second national museum outside of Canada's National Capital Region, Pier 21 will join Canada's five other national museums:
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum which encompasses the Canada Agriculture Museum as well as the Canada Aviation Museum
  • Canadian Museum of Nature (Was formerly named the National Museum of Natural Sciences)
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization which encompasses the Canadian War Museum (This Canadian Museum of Civilization was formerly named the National Museum of Man)
  • National Gallery of Canada which encompasses the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography
  • Canadian Museum for Human Rights which has had its ground breaking in Winnipeg and is due to open in 2012.

Programs and services

The Scotiabank Research Centre houses a large collection of archival information available to the public. Visitors can search for the basic arrival information of anyone arriving through a Canadian port between 1865 and 1935, and the records of individuals coming through Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal or Saint John between 1925 and 1935 can be accessed on microfilm. Pier 21’s most important project is collecting the personal recollections of immigrants whether they arrived in the busy post-war years or yesterday.

Pier 21's Manulife Education Program offers a fun, active, educational visit in the Global Classroom. The various services include French and English tours and workshops for education groups, resources and information for educators and students, family fun days, March Break camps, summer camps, multicultural fairs, and public lectures.

Over 100 people from across Canada are Pier 21 volunteers and work in the Scotiabank Research Centre, at the Pier 21 Museum Gift Shop, at special events and in administration.

Other services
Pier 21 also hosts a Café, Museum Gift Shop, and the 5,000-square-foot (460 m 2) Ralph and Rose Chiodo Harbourside Gallery. Pier 21 also provides rental facilities, hosting over 200 events each year. The museum's location has attracted conferences and corporate events. US President, George W. Bush gave a speech at Pier 21 during his first official visit to Canada on December 1, 2004.

In 2007, Pier 21 was chosen as one of the " Seven Wonders of Canada" in a television competition run by the CBC.

Building Activity

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