‘Boat people’ stories

Canadians who came here under the ‘boat people’ movement are now telling their stories. CIHS is partnering with the Southeast Asian Canadian community organizations, Carleton University and others to capture the stories – many of which are now on-line, through the ‘Hearts of Freedom’ project. The project will ensure that the settlement experience of these people is preserved and becomes part of Canada’s historical narrative. CBC Radio in Ottawa interviewed one of the individuals who told his story to the project team.

Roger St. Vincent’s autobiography

The Department of History at Carleton University, Ottawa, has made Roger St. Vincent’s autobiography, “A Very Fortunate Life”, available on line.

The autobiography includes accounts of Roger’s wartime service with the RCAF, his time with the Canadian Government Immigration Mission, the entire text of  “Seven Crested Cranes” – his account of the Uganda Asian movement, and other elements of his career.

Pier 21: The Musical

Connect with Canada’s immigration history in the very gateway that inspired the production ‘Pier 21: The Musical’. Refugees and immigrants flee Europe as war breaks out in 1939. After half a million soldiers depart from Pier 21 to fight in the Second World War, War Brides and a new generation of immigrants arrive to take their first steps on Canadian soil through the Pier.

Site-specific theatre at its best, ‘Pier 21: The Musical’ is a Celtic and Swing flavoured musical packed with powerful vignettes and characters. Performances will run at Pier 21 in Halifax twice daily from June 30 to July 8, with the exception of July 3rd.

‘Pier 21: The Musical’ is presented by the Canadiana Musical Theatre Company. Book, Music and Lyrics are by Allen des Noyers. Allen would like to dedicate this tour to the memory of Danish immigrant, George Frislev, who arrived in Canada through Pier 21 in 1951.

The musical was developed with assistance from CIHS members who gave advice on immigration procedures and historical background, as well as suggestions
for a scene revolving around the rejection of a would-be immigrant. The playwright also drew on information from the CIHS publication “The Memoirs of Fenton Crossman”, (a Canadian immigration officer, 1930-1968) and
based the character on some aspects of Fenton’s war experience (ie. he couldn’t join the military service because of a bad leg after repeated attempts to get in).

Complete presentation information can be found at https://pier21.ca/visit/whats-on-calendar/pier-21-the-musical

Hector Cowan

Canadian diplomats carry out many different duties when serving abroad. CIHS member, Hector Cowan, was tasked with helping a group of Canadian students leave the disaster zone of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear plant explosion.