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Home > Pier 21 > Remarks by Melynda Jarratt

Melynda Jarratt speaks at the Dedication Ceremony at Pier 21, August 26, 2000. Photo: Parks Canada.

Melynda Jarratt speaks at the Dedication Ceremony at Pier 21, August 26, 2000. Photo: Parks Canada.

I have been asked to give a brief historical overview of the Canadian War Brides, but how does one begin to tell the story of nearly 50,000 British and European women, whose lives and Canada's destiny were shaped by the fortunes of war and their love for a Canadian serviceman?

Each brides' story is unique: most came to Canada, not knowing what to expect, they dug in, adapted, compromised, made homes for their husbands and families and became good Canadian citizens. Many lived ordinary lives, other rose to prominance, but all together they have been great assets to this country, and their hundreds of thousands of descendents are living testimony to their enduring legacy.

We are here today at Pier 21 to celebrate the War Brides, for this is the place where they were first introduced to Canada. How appropriate that, fifty-four years ago this very week, on August 31, 1946, the Queen Mary sailed into Halifax, carrying a precious cargo of 1000 brides and their 1000 children, as well as Prime Minister MacKenzie King. As they readied to disembark at Halifax, the ship's Commandant, W.E. Sutherland, delivered a hand-signed "note of appreciation" to the War Brides. Despite the passage of time, his words still ring true and I will repeat them today.

"Canada welcomes you with a feeling of great admiration and pride - you of British blood and those of Allied stock, who have stood up so courageously under all the adversities of war that have struck home to you so severely through the past six years. Canada will benefit who won the everlasting admiration of all decent peoples of the world by the magnificent manner in which you conducted yourselves through those long, dark, trying war years. To one and all, I express sincere wishes for your future happiness, prosperity and well-being, in whatever part of Canada you locate in, from Halifax to Vancouver, may you find contentment in every respect."

You were an inspiration then, and you are an inspiration today: may we never forget the Canadian War Brides of World War Two.

At this time, I would like to say thank you to two War Brides who have had an enormous impact on my own life: Doris Lloyd, founding President of the New Brunswick War Brides Association, and Olga Rains.

Thank you.

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