Permanent Exhibitions

The Pier 21 Story

Step into the past and experience what it was like to immigrate to Canada through Pier 21. This was the entry point for one in five Canadians between 1928 and 1971.

  • Stand in history. Imagine yourself tossing at sea in the tight quarters of a replica ship’s cabin and dining room and settling Canada’s west aboard a colonist railcar.
  • Peek inside a kist, a huge wooden crate some of our Dutch immigrants used to bring their belongings, both eccentric and large-scale, in the 1940s and 50s.
  • Get into character by playing dress-up in period costumes.
  • Pack your trunk. Then take our Customs Challenge to see which of your items will be allowed or confiscated.
  • Explore first-person stories, of newcomers and the people who welcomed them. Listen to their voices, find them in archival photos, study their trunks, luggage and personal treasures.
  • Find children’s trunks scattered throughout, poignant perspectives of those who immigrated as little ones.

The Canadian Immigration Story

Experience the diverse adventures and vast contributions of newcomers to Canada’s culture, economy and way of life, from past to present day.

  • Listen, see, smell and touch how different waves of immigration have influenced everything around us from our global palate to our favourite pastimes.
  • Trace changing migration trends throughout our history on our massive multimedia Immigration Map.
  • Browse a compelling oral collection of immigrant stories and histories.
  • Snap your photo and insert yourself into our Canadian mosaic in the form of iconic cross-country landscapes.
  • Share how you feel about Canadian Identity in our growing digital Belonging Quilt.
  • Test your knowledge at the Citizenship Test Table. Do you know enough for the privilege of citizenship?

Watch a trailer of our original film, in Canada