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SS Walnut Passengers, 1948

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  • Herbert Madrus (1909 - 1992)
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On November 17th, 1948, the SS Walnut, a 164' x 28' cargo ship designed for a crew of 18 left Sweden. Aboard were 347 Estonian refugees, ages ranging from 9 months to 80 years, chancing the perilous journey and illegal entry into Canada.

The ship travelled via Sligo, Ireland to Canada, arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia on December 13, 1948. One immigration officer welcomed the passengers to their new home, saying, "You came to a good country; There is room for you here." Thus, they became the first of over 1.5 million "boat people" to find safety in Canada via Pier 21.

Here's a link to the full story, including a partial passenger list: