Over the years I have interviewed many immigrants and marvelled at their stories. I have always had the utmost admiration for immigrants to Canada. In particular, immigrants who have been forced to flee their home land and come to Canada often near penniless. Their only asset is themselves and their burning desire to build a future .
On a recent trip to Halifax My wife Aline and I visited Pier 21 the national historic site. Between 1928 and 1971 it was the gateway to Canada for more than a million individuals who first set foot on Canadian soil.
As we toured Pier 21. I noticed a gentleman politely correcting the young tour director as she explained how she had been told immigrants were received and processed. Later I asked him if he was an immigrant who had arrived at Pier 21. "Yes", he replied with tears in his eyes, "my name is Michael Knezich I arrived at this very pier from Yugoslavia with my mother , 13 year old brother Drago and 9 year old sister Bozana on December 13, 1954. I was 15. My father had immigrated to London, Ontario two years earlier as a farm labourer. We were joining him." He continued, "After a very rough sea voyage across the North Atlantic on a ship packed with other immigrants we arrived right where we are standing now. It was very intimidating. We spoke no English." Then he said with a smile, "Our first meal in Canada was a bowel of dry corn flakes. We had never seen anything like it but were so hungry we ate every bit"
The picture with this story is Michael showing me the ship that brought him to Canada, He told me ‘ My journey here today is a pilgrimage, You see, my sister is very ill with cancer back in London, Ontario, She wanted me to come here and bring pictures to her. It is my first time back here. It is very emotional; Canada has been very good to our family”
Immigrants like Michael Krezic and his family are very good for Canada. They are “ Canadian Achievers”
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