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Halifax CRC at 50 looking forward to host Pier 21 reunion participants

Weekend of June 28 festivities


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - The Dutch Canadian Pier 21 50th reunion planned for the weekend of June 28, also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the start of what became the All Nations Christian Reformed Church in Nova Scotiaís capital. The congregation hopes to host that reunionís out-of-town visitors. This year, Pier 21 also celebrates the 75th anniversary of the immigrant arrival facility at the Halifax harbour.

All Nations CRC is one of 215 Canadian congregations that belong to the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC-NA) and one of four in Nova Scotia. Instituted in 1958, its organizing pastor R.J. Bos served the congregation from 1953 through 1960. The six CRC congregations in Eastern Canada - New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island each have one - belong with one Quebec congregation to Classis Eastern Canada which in the aftermath of the Reformed influx into Canada, was formed 45 years ago.

All Nations CRCís 50th ministry anniversary organizer Ena Siebring is happy about the prospect that the congregation may be hosting many out-of-province guests at the golden jubilee events. Although the church has its roots in Dutch immigration, its membership has a significant non-Dutch segment. The second-most distant eastern Canadian CRC also is one of the most isolated congregations in the denomination. It could be different on that one long weekend. Siebring can be reached at elnasiebring@hotmail.com or at 1-902-429-3540.

Not all Dutch immigrants to Canada landed at Halifax, although all arriving by ship during the Winter and early Spring - when the Montreal harbour would be closed - were processed at Pier 21. The initial waves of postwar Dutch immigrants traveled by immigrant ships to Canada. By the early 1950s travel by plane became possible when Montreal was added to the schedule of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Travel by immigrant ship has left a deep impression on the psyche of the Dutch community with many people often popping the question: On which ship did you come to Canada (or the U.S.A.). Over the years, many immigrants have tried to reconnect with people they met on the ship coming over. There have been many (attempts at organizing) reunions for travellers on a particular ship or specific trip. The Dutch Canadian Pier 21 50th anniversary reunion, headed by mobile Dutch grocery outlet entrepreneur Gerry Blom of Fredericton, N.B., plans as part of its program to put people together who travelled on the same immigrant ship. Blom can be reached at: gmblom@nbnet.nb.ca