Laura Madakoro on Canadian Immigration Heritage

19 03 2010

Laura Madakoro, a PhD candidate in history at UBC, has published a great article on the social memory of immigration in the Globe and Mail.  Laura says that the Pier 21 Museum in Halifax is a great first step, but that the government needs to fund projects that will tell the story of trans-Pacific immigration into Canada. She also argues that online, as opposed to bricks-and-mortar museums, can help to educate Canadians about immigration history.

I have only a couple of things to add to Laura’s great article.

a) We shouldn’t forget the vast numbers of Americans who came north in search of a better life. These people crossed the border at many points, so it would be hard to select one spot for a physical museum. This is another reason why we should have an online museum.

b) We should emphasize the role of immigrant entrepreneurs — the Chairman of the Barrick gold mining company is a Holocaust survivor. Why not have a special museum for them in Toronto’s financial district?

c) Canada was a net exporter of people for several decades in the late 19th century. How do we tell the stories of the vast numbers of French Canadians and anglophones who went to the United States?


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