Voices of RPIA
In Our Community
ALLYSON WATSON Director, Client Portfolio Management
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Allyson’s ancestors arriving in the Maritimes in 1805 from Isle of Skye, Scotland.
My ancestors arrived in the Maritimes in 1805 from Isle of Skye, Scotland, eventually settling in Mabou Coalmines, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Canada’s immigration story is made up of more than 400 years of such newcomers. Newcomers will be as much a part of Canada’s future as they have been a part of our past. The Museum ensures that the past serves as an essential prologue in the ever evolving story of our country. Recently, I joined the Organizing Committee and have agreed to take over as Chair for the California Wine Dinner in support of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, NS. The exhibits at Pier 21 are all privately funded, in part through this annual fundraising event. Pier 21 is Canada’s national museum dedicated to sharing our country’s immigration journey. It is a museum of stories - the stories of countless newcomers who arrive in Canada with a dream for their future. Their sacrifices, perseverance, and hope continue to shape Canada into a diverse and inclusive culture, admired around the world. They help create a country where we are proud of our shared values of diversity, unity, equality, and inclusion. At this difficult juncture in our history, championing these core Canadian values is more important now than perhaps ever before. When visitors go through an exhibition, read a story online, or listen to the museum’s podcast, they draw connections to their own family’s journey or that of someone they know. This knowledge paves the way to a better understanding of our connection as Canadians and as human beings, and makes us stronger as a people. Stories change us and they change our society for the better. They give us the perspective of the sacrifices and motivation for why our families choose Canada to be our home. These stories are our history and our heritage. I am proud to be a part of this endeavour to help make a difference in helping connect Canadians, moving us toward greater empathy, kindness and compassion. 2021 is the 20th anniversary for the event and our theme this year will recognize and pay tribute to the contributions of newcomers. I am excited to take on this new volunteer role at this important time in the museum’s evolution.
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