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Location: Washington State, United States

14 August 2006

Emmigrating From Holland to Canada

Emmigrating From the Netherlands- September 1958

As told to me by my father, May2006
My father and mother immigrated to Canada two weeks after they married. They boarded the "Zuiderkruis", a converted troop ship, in the Port of Rotterdam. The ship was moored at the Holland-America dock. They got a room to themselves because they were newlyweds. Toward the end of the voyage, they encountered a huge storm. The ship lost contact, and the shipping company thoght they had sunk. They made it to Canada though, albeit a week late.
The ship travelled through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Quebec, the first stop. My parents didn't have much money, and they bought an "Orange Crush" for the first time ever. The ship then travelled to Montreal.
My parents had to go through customs, which was a awful expereince. They had a box and some trunks. The trunks had been in the family for many generations, and I have them now. Luckily they didn't have to unpack anything. My dad had a British surplus radio, and the customs officer ended up being a radio enthusiast, so they ended up talking about the radio.
They boarded a train to travel across Canada to Victoria. There was no place to sleep on the train, so they ended up sleeping on the seats, which wasn't very comfortable.
Since they didn't have much money, they survived on bread and milk. They stopped at Banff, Alberta. This was the fist time they had been in the mountains, and they loved it. They thought the mountains were so beautiful!
Eventually, they ended up in Vancouver, and they slept in the waiting room at the station. No washing, no money- feeling pretty icky.
In the morning, they went on the ferry to Nanaimo, which is on Vancouver Island. The weather was gorgeous, and the ferry ride was wonderful. Some old friends met them in Nanaino, and drove them to Victoria. Vic was in the Navy in Esquimalt. One morning, Vic had to get to work, and woke my dad up in a horrible way. My dad had to drive him to work in his pajamas, and he didn't know his way around Victoria very well. He says it was a miracle he ever got back home.


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