Now the Canadian Museum of Immigration, Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia served as the first glimpse of Canada for many people who came to make this country their home. Interactive exhibits offer visitors the chance to learn what these new residents faced as they left where they came from in hopes of finding something better.
Between 1928 and 1971, nearly a million people entered Canada at Pier 21. Today many of the exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 help visitors appreciate the excitement and the challenges of immigrating to a new country through hands-on permanent and temporary exhibits. Interactive elements let visitors pack their worldly goods into the allotted space and see if they pass customs screening, see a re-creation of a steerage cabin and dining room that many immigrants would have used on the ship to Canada, and hear moving stories of the people who chose Canada for their new home.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This immigration museum, one of Halifax’s top-rated attractions, is a must-do for anyone interested in history and the movement of people.
- Exhibits are designed to appeal to all ages—kids and adults will enjoy the interactive activities.
- Discounted tickets are available for youths and seniors, and family and group rates are available.
- The museum is accessible to wheelchair users. Free wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
How to Get There
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is on Halifax Harbour at 1055 Marginal Road. There is paid parking beside the museum (free on evenings and weekends) and metered street parking in the area. Taxis and public buses are readily available in Halifax as well.
When to Get There
Hours vary seasonally; check the website. From May through November it is open daily; December through March, the museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday; in April it is closed on Monday. The museum is also closed on January 1, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and December 24 through 26.
Scotiabank Family History Centre
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is also home to the Scotiabank Family History Centre. If you would like to learn more about your family’s arrival in Canada, this fascinating genealogical resource is available free of charge. The research center has access to arrival sources dating back to 1865 from all ports of entry into Canada—not just Pier 21—as well as US seaports including New York and Boston.