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Media Release
November 28, 2016
Halifax, NS

New Temporary Exhibit at Pier 21 Examines Internment of Italian Canadians During the Second World War

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is pleased to present Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times: Italian Canadian Experiences During World War II. This temporary exhibit commemorates the hundreds of Italian Canadians sent to internment camps and prisons during the Second World War.

On June 10, 1940, Italy declared war on Great Britain and her allies; in reaction, the Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King declared as “enemy aliens” an estimated 31,000 Italian-Canadians considered a threat to the safety of Canada.

Those considered most dangerous, around 600, were sent to three internment camps in Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick for a period of up to five years. Though lives were disrupted and reputations damaged, not one internee would be officially charged with a crime in a court of law.

Drawing from a series of oral histories collected between 2010 and 2012, Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times: Italian Canadian Experiences During World War II conveys the personal stories of a cross-section of Italian-Canadians, including internees and their families, neighbours, and fellow community members, and helps demonstrate the varied and far-reaching effects of that period of time.

Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times will be shown at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in the Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery foyer from November 23 to March 12, 2017. Entrance to the exhibit will be included in regular Museum admission prices.

A small opening reception will allow attendees to gather and experience the exhibit in an intimate setting.

Media are welcome to attend the reception.

Monday, November 28, 2016
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery foyer

Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
1055 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS B3H 4P7

Quick Facts

  • Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times was funded by the Columbus Centre of Toronto and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Quotes

“We are honoured to present Ordinary Lives, Extraordinary Times, a temporary exhibit looking at the toll the internment of Italian Canadians during the Second World War had, not only on those interned and their families, but the thousands who were declared enemy aliens. Exhibits like this are important because they help shine a light on some of the darker parts of our history and allow us to learn from past events.”
- Marie Chapman, CEO, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

“It is important that this extraordinary historical exhibit is being presented across the country for all Canadians to experience. It is fitting that the exhibit will be housed in the Ralph and Rose Chiodo Gallery, as Ralph is a highly regarded arts benefactor and valued partner of Villa Charities and our initiatives. We are proud to have participated in the development of this significant project, which highlights not only vital individual stories, but also raises awareness about the complex issues surrounding the internment of Italian Canadians during World War II.”
- Eligio Gaudio, President and CEO, Villa Charities Inc.

Media Contacts
Remo Zaccagna
Communications Coordinator
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Telephone: (902) 425-7770 ext. 264
Mobile: (902) 430-3986
Toll Free: 1-855-526-4721 ext. 264
rzaccagna@pier21.ca

Villa Charities/Columbus Centre
Kathleen Sloan
Director, Marketing and Communications
Villa Charities Inc.
Telephone: (416) 789-7011 ext. 309
ksloan@villacharities.com

Associated Links
http://www.pier21.ca
http://www.italiancanadianww2.ca/

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About the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 collects, shares and pays tribute to the Canadian immigration story. The Museum is situated in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Pier 21, the National Historic Site that served as the gateway to Canada for one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971. Today, the Museum shares the stories and experiences of all immigrants to Canada, past to present day. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 enhances public understanding of the experiences of immigrants to Canada, highlights the vital role immigration has played in the building of our country and the contributions of immigrants to Canada’s culture, economy and way of life. It is Canada’s sixth national museum and the only one located in Atlantic Canada.

About the Columbus Centre
Opened in 1980, the Columbus Centre, an affiliate of the non-profit organization Villa Charities, is the largest Italian Canadian Cultural Centre in Canada. Located in Toronto, the Centre provides extensive cultural, educational, athletic programs and special events, and houses the renowned Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery. With more than 100,000 visitors each year, Columbus Centre is the piazza and heart of the community.