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Given this shortcoming, steamship companies preferred to land their passengers at Pier 3, next to Pier 2.
It was longer and served on one side by a wider basin – the basin shared with Pier 2 was narrow enough that having two ships in at once was the cause of damaging accidents.
Perhaps the chief complaint was the lack of detention quarters for inadmissible passengers. The building was also accessible to the general public, so immigration agents complained that “idlers and loafers” were a nuisance at the site, ranging through the entire facility and peering in the windows.
During ship arrivals, the immigration officers complained that “crowds of people surround the building.” These deficiencies led to a prompt update of the immigration quarters. In 1905, a second storey was added. The spaces for examining passengers and their baggage moved up to the higher level.
While the new building functioned well, the issues with the actual pier and shipping use remained, and so in 1911 the Department of Railways and Canals planned yet another construction project at Pier 2, including a very large pier as well as new sheds and immigration facilities. Many had stories, similar to mine, coming for refuge and with high hopes, to Canada. I fell as though some greater power must have been leading my unpredictable steps to the right places through the years. My mother assured him that we only had personal belongings and oil and cheese, he marked the trunks with a check mark and away we went on the train.This new facility for immigration at Pier 2 was completed in the winter of 1890. The work to establish proper reception facilities was undone by fire in February of 1895.Much of the infrastructure at the Deep Water Terminus burned, including the immigration quarters. In the absence of proper landing facilities, passengers were landed at Cunard’s wharf (just south of Pier 2) and examined at the North End railway station. The Intercolonial Railway moved quickly to rebuild, and had plans in place by the end of the next month. However, the search for replacement accommodation became even more pressing in the spring, as a blaze took the Intercolonial Railway’s Richmond terminal (in the North End of Halifax, near the foot of Richmond Street) in May of 1895.The new facility opened in the fall of 1915. The 1915 building at Pier 2 was a major improvement on prior quarters, and was comparable to the quarters that were eventually developed at Pier 21 in size – but integrated in a single building. An immigration officer in Toronto told me to seek a job as a domestic, as I would never get one as a teacher. The confusion was how will this country be for us, is it worth leaving everything back, the settled life, luxury and employment to face an unknown world of no one known to us.It could accommodate two ships at once, and improved passenger safety during the transit from ship to rail by housing sunken tracks inside as well as directly beside the shed. Going through rigorous immigration procedures and exploring the city to get the PR card, SIN card, opening bank accounts, housing and schooling relying on the internet and immigration flyers was an amazing experience, the smooth completion of all these procedures made us understand that Canada is no more a land of unknown. People here are very warm and friendly offering every help they could.