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Media Release
February 15, 2017
Halifax, NS

New Temporary Exhibit at Pier 21 Commemorates the No. 2 Construction Battalion

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is pleased to unveil Community Presents: The No. 2 Construction Battalion, a small temporary exhibit created by the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia that commemorates the 100th anniversary of the formation and service of the No. 2 Construction Battalion.

It was on March 25, 1917 that the more than 600 men that formed the No. 2 Construction Battalion – the first and last segregated all-Black Canadian Army unit – sailed from Halifax Harbour on its to way to England and France to aid in the First World War effort.

Once in France, the unit was attached to the Canadian Forestry Corps and they provided lumber to maintain trenches at the front and built roads and railways.

The small temporary exhibit includes several images and artifacts generously donated on loan from the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia.

Community Presents: The No. 2 Construction Battalion will be shown at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in the Hall of Tribute from February 16 to May 1, 2017.

Entrance to the exhibit will be included in regular Museum admission prices.

Quick Facts

  • The unit was comprised of 19 officers and 605 men – more than half who were African Nova Scotians. The rest came from other parts of Canada, the southern U.S., and the Caribbean
  • The No. 2 Construction Battalion set sail for Halifax in January 1919 and was officially disbanded on Sept. 13, 1920
  • One panel and several artifacts, including a uniform worn by Sapper Joseph Parris, will be part of the small exhibit

Quotes

“Military service is a key route to a greater sense of belonging for many immigrant communities and the No. 2 Construction Battalion story is a powerful example of that. This unit started with the black Nova Scotian community, but it has many surprising immigration connections, including Americans and people from the Caribbean who came north to join the unit.”
- Dan Conlin, Curator, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

“The 100th anniversary will be a point of pride for African Nova Scotians and African Canadians. But it will also be a point of pride that this exhibit can be a part of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. It says a lot that that this story, a story that has been hidden for so many years, is now a story that will be part of Canada’s national history as we enter into Canada’s 150th year”
- Russell Grosse, Executive Director of the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia

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

Associated Links
http://www.pier21.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 Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia
The Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia was established in 1983 with a provincial mandate to Protect, Preserve and Promote the rich history and culture of African Nova Scotians. The Centre is a multi-level museum focused on the history and culture of Black People in Nova Scotia. Programs of the Black Cultural Centre extend beyond its doors to the broader community of Nova Scotia. This outreach is achieved through cultural events across Nova Scotia.

About Community Presents
Community Presents is an outreach partnership program designed to celebrate the unique heritage of cultural groups and community organizations. Through the program, groups and organizations have the opportunity to tell their story through the creation of their own Museum exhibition. The exhibitions allow cultural groups to showcase their unique traditions and culture, giving the public a better understanding of our collective and distinct cultural heritages. Exhibitions run for approximately two to three months and entrance is included with Museum Admission.