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L'histoire d'immigration de Laurence MacNeil (immigrantécossais)

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.

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In 1963 my parents decided that Canada my offer more opportunities for my brothers and I than Scotland could. At that time I had one married brother who agreed that this was the place to raise his daughter. I also had two brothers, one of whom was still serving in the Armed Forces. They decided to travel together when my brother had finished his time in the Army.

The plan was that my father and I would come to Canada first, find jobs and a place to live, and the family would follow. At the age of 16 years, my father and I set out for Greenock to sail for Canada on the Sylvania. It was March 9th, 1963 and my mother and girlfriend, Maureen (now my wife) came to see us off.

I couldn’t believe the size of this floating hotel! Since I had never been outside Scotland, apart from a short holiday in Dublin, this was unbelievable! We shared a cabin which was quite small and had no window but, for a 16 year old boy, it felt like the Ritz.

To say the crossing was rough would be a gross understatement. By the third day the dining room was half empty as everyone else was seasick. I was fine until the fourth day when I was given an injection by the ship’s doctor at 11:00 pm.

We arrived in Halifax on Friday, March 15th, and from there we would go by train to Montreal and then on to Toronto as the St. Lawrence was frozen. After being processed through Immigration at Pier 21, we had a few hours to kill and decided to go for fish and chips at a place nearby. I have never forgotten the size of the huge serving put before us.

We left Halifax bound for Montreal and all I could see from the train were rows of little black dots. This was all that was showing of the fence posts……..All the rest was snow. I had never seen so much snow in all my life! The next morning we arrived in Montreal where we had a few hours to wait for our connection to Toronto. For some unknown reason, I decided to go for a haircut. Bad decision! It was soooooooooooo cold in Montreal, I thoughtthat I would get frostbite.

We arrived in Toronto on Saturday evening and were met by my cousin and her husband who took us directly to a St. Patrick’s night dance. We stayed with my cousin until we could find jobs and a place for the family to live. I was hired within the first four days and my father had a job within a week.

Canada in 1963 was an incredible place to come to for anyone who was willing to work. My father and I were able to find somewhere for the family to live and with the help of“Bad Boy” furniture, we were able to get 3 rooms of furniture for $99.00……………not great quality, but it served the purpose. Three months later, my girlfriend, Maureen, also immigrated. We were married in 1967 and had a great life in Canada. We have 3 sons of whom we are very proud and 2grandchildren. We are now enjoying our retirement on Vancouver Island.