Skip to the main content

L'histoire d'immigration d'Adrienne Brown (immigrante anglaise)

Le Musée examine et accepte les dons de souvenirs et d'histoires, personnelles ou familiales, à la collection. En tant qu'institution pédagogique, ces récits nous aident à comprendre comment les individus se souviennent d'expériences vécues, comment ils les interprètent ou, encore, comment ils créent un sens à partir de celles-ci. Les histoires ne sont pas modifiées par le personnel du Musée. Le point de vue exprimé est celui de l'auteur et non celui du Musée.

Catégorie: 
Culture : 
Pays d'origine: 
Port d’entrée : 
Date d'arrivée: 
March 24 1961
Langue: 
Anglais
Creative Commons: 
CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Numéro d'accession : 
S2012.579.1

Texte d'histoire: 

I was 19 years old. On Friday 13th January 1961 I had'flu and as I lay in my bed in a scruffy shared flat in the centre of London, UK, I thought about my life and what I wanted from it. All of a sudden I suddenly decided to dump my boyfriend (wasn't going anywhere anyway) and sail to Canada to visit my brother who had emigrated 5 years earlier.

I got out of bed and phoned Cunard Lines and instantly booked a berth on the HMS Saxonia for Friday 17 March (St. Patrick's Day). I had two months to find the money. I think it was around one hundred pounds. My mother was rather taken aback when I asked her to lend me the money. She did not want me to leave England - but never said so. We visited the bank and she co-signed a loan for two hundred pounds (enough for a return fare!). Today, I wonder how I found the courage to suddenly do such a thing.

I packed my old school trunk and arrived at Southampton. My mother and boyfriend came to see me off. The last thing my mother said to me was "Please don't marry a Canadian ". (She was a war widow and we were very close.) I was sharing a cabin with 3 other women -and it was filled with flowers from many friends wishing me'bon voyage'. The 7 days at sea were wonderful. I asked to sit at the Purser's table - and was lucky because that is where I was for the week. The Purser was quite delicious - and I had a great flirtation with him all week! I played Bingo for the first time and won enough money to pay for my gin and tonics all week. A delightful middle aged gentleman from First Class used to come over to'our side' every evening to dance - he said the first class passengers were rather boring. One day it was so rough we stopped in mid Atlantic and I was rather sea sick. The week was great and I enjoyed it like a holiday in a hotel - waited on hand and foot - even my bath! Which was run for me by the cabin steward.

We arrived in Halifax in the early hours of Friday, March 24 and I only vaguely remember going through Immigration. I was eventually given this pale green slip of paper "Canadian Immigration Identification Card " which is stamped Mar 24 1961 by Immigration. I was told never to lose it - nor have I. It says "This card is required for customs clearance and when making application for citizenship. It will also prove useful for many other purposes. " (I gather I will need it for my Old Age Pension!) I can't remember anything about the immigration place at all. It didn't seem to matter that I had no job to come to - but I had the qualifications. It was all so easy. I do recall that in London I went to see someone at an address on Green Street to be interviewed.

In Halifax I felt very lonely and lost -also very homesick for the first time. Halifax really looked like a dump in the winter. I have never been back - I know I should because it will have changed - but it sure left a bad impression. I had to wait until the evening to catch the train to Montreal. Upon leaving the boat I realized I had no Canadian money. My'sugar daddy' from first class lent me ten dollars and said I could send it to him when I got a job. He looked after me all day until we got on the train. He was in first class and I had a sleeper in tourist class. I remember at daylight looking at the forests we passed by - miles and miles of woods deep in snow. I recalled my girl guide song - "Land of the Silver Birch, home of the beaver, where still the might moose wanders at will ". That song used to haunt my thoughts as a child - and here I was in that land. I was certainly drawn to the country. We arrived in Montreal and stopped for quite a while before going!

On to Toronto. In Toronto my brother met me (he was in the Canadian Army and lived 60 miles north of Toronto) and I remember being amazed at the size of the City - I thought Toronto was just a small place!

I stayed with very distant cousins for the first week until I found a place to live and a job. Easy to find both - English secretaries were in demand and I soon was earning $240 a month. I had to pay my loan back so I started selling Watkins Products in the evening. That brought me in another $40 a month. On my first call someone slammed the door in my face. I cried all the way home - but the next night I tried again and made a sale! I had no idea how much I would suffer from homesickness - I cried for the first couple of months every night.

That spur of the moment decision on 13 Jan 1961 changed the whole course of my life. I did marry a Canadian (Stubble jumper in the Canadian Army) and we celebrate our 39th anniversary this year.

I look back on how Canada has changed me and my values. I think the hardest part of emigrating was changing the way I believed things should be done. I was brought up to understand that the British knew how to do things correctly. Because Canada is multi-cultural I learned that there is no right or wrong - just different. What a blessing - it removes so much stress from life when you accept differences. Thank you Canada for a wonderful forty years.

**************************************************************************************************************
Here ends one version of Mrs. Brown's immigration story and begins another, much shorter, slightly different version of the same story.
**************************************************************************************************************
Adrienne Drought nee brown arrived in Canada aboard the Saxonia on March 24, 1961.