A man from Hania in Crete, who wished to remain anonymous, says in his interview: “In that period all the people wanted to leave Greece, all the people wanted to go to the ships. All the youth wanted to go somewhere. The years back then were difficult as well… And I liked the ships. I wanted to travel and that’s why I left.”
“Then how and when did you emigrate to Canada?” asks the researcher. “I didn’t emigrate. The ship had come here to Canada and I stayed illegally, like many others have stayed here.”
That testimony is accompanied by an extract from the Globe and Mail newspaper from January 27, 1962, with a headline reading “1,000 Ship-Jumpers in Montreal,” which refers to the story of two sailors who abandoned ship and spent nearly two years, without papers, in Montreal.
These and many more stories form the core of the Virtual Museum of Greek Immigration to Canada, an initiative that is part of the Immigrec project, and an interdisciplinary educational partnership that comprises research teams from three Canadian universities with Greek studies programs (McGill, Simon Fraser and York) and the University of Patras, with the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.
Pier 21 at the port of Halifax; the arrivals area at Vancouver Airport; the Montreal rail station: the points of entry illustrate Canada’s immigration policy. Each is represented in the virtual museum with an explanation of their role and extracts of interviews with immigrants who tell the story of their arrival in the North American country. The museum also includes newspaper articles on the subject, official documents, photographs from family albums and photographs of memorabilia presented by the Greek emigres to the researchers.
If you have Greek ancestors in Canada, you will want to read this article by Maro Vasiliadou published in the ekathimerini web site at: https://www.ekathimerini.com/society/diaspora/1206817/canadas-greeks-share-their-stories/.