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First Families of Pier 21

On February 28, 1928 the Holland America line steam ship Nieuw Amsterdam departed from Rotterdam, Netherlands and was the first ship to arrive at Pier 21 on March 8, 1928.

There were only 54 people disembarking at Pier 21 on that day and included passengers from Holland, Lithuania, Germany, Romania, Russia, Yugoslavia, Finland, and Greece. They were all headed westward, to Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

The Immigrants: The Story of a Photograph

A group of men, women and some children are gathered in the deck of a boat.

One of the visual icons of immigration to North America are photographs of newly-arrived immigrants, dockside just after their arrival.

A Scarlet Fever Quarantine and the Subsequent Adventures of a Spirited Little Girl

Scottish immigrant Christina McKay Liness Murchison didn’t let a little scarlet fever get her down. Her family’s home was quarantined due to her illness in the early days after their arrival in 1930 on the Duchess of Richmond.

“Mostly I remember…the time my second brother arrived…I had scarlet fever. I can remember a crib in the kitchen and my brother was in it…our whole house was quarantined and I can remember that. A big red sign on the door, "Quarantine." It was horrid. But that’s what they did back in those days and I had scarlet fever.”