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Preserving the Memories of a Nation

Documenting, preserving and sharing Canada’s immigration story is at the heart of what we do. As part of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21’s Oral History Program, people’s first-hand immigration experiences and memories are recorded through oral history interviews led by Museum historians.

two women seated in the new BMO Oral History Gallery on reopening day at the Museum

Roma Pingitore (left) and Vida Lietuvninkas (right) in the new BMO Oral History Gallery on reopening day at the Museum.

Thanks to BMO Financial Group’s generous $250,000 gift, we are thrilled to share this important cross-Canada collection of memories with visitors to the new BMO Oral History Gallery. The Gallery allows visitors to digitally browse a compelling collection of authentic immigrant oral histories including that of Vida Lietuvninkas and Roma Pingitore who arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax with their parents in November 1948 and settled in Montreal.

two girls as pictured on their mother’s travel documentation

A young Roma and Vida as pictured on their mother’s travel documentation, 1948.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 (DI2015.175.2)

The sisters were both born in a displaced persons camp in Germany after their parents fled their native Lithuania in 1944 to escape the advancing Russian army at the close of the Second World War.

“And he [Julian - Vida and Roma’s father] said sometimes the boat would be rocking so hard that the dishes would just fly off the top of the table and—you’re holding on for dear life, and he was hanging onto the two of us so we wouldn’t go flying off too!”

- Vida Lietuvninkas, Oral History Contributor


A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Inspiring Donors
This year, you’ve helped us:

Deepen Canadians’ understanding of the immigration experience by doubling our exhibition space, creating an immersive experience that allows visitors to feel what millions of Canadians felt – the anticipation, perseverance and hope that continue to build our nation.

Engage youth in authentic, relatable and meaningful educational activities through our School Group Education Program, exploring the immigration journey and what it means to be Canadian.

Explore the diversity of the Canadian immigration story through the temporary exhibition Peace - The Exhibition which illustrated Canadians’ choices and actions for peace, and how these actions have helped shape our history.

Preserve immigration stories for current and future generations in the new BMO Oral History Gallery. The Gallery allows visitors to digitally browse a compelling collection of authentic immigrant oral histories.

Discover family roots for almost 24,000 visitors who connected with our passionate Scotiabank Family History Centre staff to research their past.

From interactive public programs and educational visits, to inspiring exhibitions, historical research and national outreach—our donors have a hand in supporting all of our efforts to collect, share and pay tribute to the Canadian immigration story.

See the impact our donors have had by viewing a sampling of the report below. (Read the full report here)

To view a sampling of the 2014 Impact Report, click here >