Our second day in Halifax was another beautiful summer day. We had made a list of the places we wanted to visit during our stay and the Immigration Museum at Pier 21 was one of our choices, just because it would be an interesting place with lots of stories.
Over 1 million people arrived in Canada through Pier 21 in Halifax between 1928 and 1971. When we went to the counter to get our tickets the lady asked if we had any family members who had immigrated to Canada through Pier 21. I told her my maternal grandparents came from Scotland about 1930 but I didn’t know where they entered the country. She pointed to a door across the room and said that was the research room. The people in there could help get some information. We went off to watch the film and read the placards and see the photos. While we were viewing the museum exhibits I texted my sister to see if our family book had a date for our grandparents arrival and to get their birthdays. The only date she found was the day Grandpa completed the emigration process; Aug 29, 1930. Our information was that Grandma and the four girls arrived about a year after Grandpa.
After we finished looking around we went to the research room to enquire about my grandparents. The fellow was unable to find any information on my grandfather’s entry to Canada as William Young is a common name and we had no accurate date. He looked all through early 1930 and found nothing. But he did find my Grandmother and her four daughter’s – our mother being the youngest at 8 months of age. They arrived via Quebec City, not Halifax, on the ship Laurentic from Grennock Scotland on October 11, 1930.
He printed out the documents for me: the departure log, the arrival log (with enlargements of the pertinent information), a photo of the ship with it’s stats and history, and a six page article with photos about the Quebec City Port of Entry. I couldn’t believe it. We had no notion of checking out anything like that and a remark from a ticket clerk gave us another piece of our family history!
We will be back in Halifax next July on a cruise we are taking and between now and then I am going to see if I can find out a bit more data about my Grandpa Young in the hopes we can find his records too. The Pier 21 Immigration Museum is located in the port cruise terminal so we won’t even have to go far to look again.
The Public Gardens in downtown Halifax were created in 1867 when two older gardens were combined to make the 16 acre park in the middle of the city. They are one of Canada’s oldest surviving Victorian Gardens. In 2003 Hurricane Juan decimated the gardens and a public fundraising campaign raised the money to restore them. We had our lunch on a bench in front of the bandstand and then wandered among the flower beds for almost 2 hours. It is a lovely place and the Haligonians are very fortunate to have it.
These serpent gardens had ‘heads’ like a snake on one end. We left the Gardens at about 3 and decided to cross one more thing off our list before we returned to the hotel; Point Pleasant Park which has the Prince of Wales Martello Tower (part of The Citadel outer defense network). Britain built over 200 of these round towers in areas outside their port forts to be able to fire upon enemy ships attempting to enter. We were hoping to be able to climb in this one as we did in Quebec City, so we could see the view of the harbour but the roof and the top floor of the tower had been removed in the 1870’s and the bottom part was locked. It was a nice walk along the trail – it is all bush land though, not an open grass-type park, and it is a popular off-leash dog walking area. We met about 8 dogs on the way up and back down, so that made the trip worthwhile for me: tower or no tower.