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News Release: June 6, 2019

New exhibition opens at PAMA exploring Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis

Iraqi and Syrian refugees in a sinking boat arriving from Turkey to Lesbos island, Greece, October 30, 2015. Georgios Giannopoulos, Wikimedia Commons

Tinalbarka, a refugee from Mali, does schoolwork inside her family's tent in Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania, April 14, 2016. © UNHCR/Agron Dragaj

Brampton, ON (June 6, 2019): Opening June 8, Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) presents Refuge Canada, a travelling exhibition from the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With the upcoming World Refugee Day (June 20) we welcome the opportunity to expand awareness of this global crisis to local residents. Please join us for the Exhibition Opening Reception with Marie Chapman, CEO of the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21: June 16, 2 – 4 p.m.

Through images, soundscapes, first person accounts and artifacts, this powerful exhibition begins “no one wants to be a refugee, anyone could become a refugee.” Moving through major waves of arrival from Second World War era up to present day, Refuge Canada does not shy away from portraying the darker chapters of history. Hopeful stories of optimism and success are balanced by moving accounts of shattered lives, fear, and examples of Canada’s mixed record in welcoming refugees. The exhibition will draw visitors through its five themes: Life Before, Fear, Displacement, Refuge and Life in Canada, with hands-on opportunities to connect with the content. Crawl inside a UNHCR tent, look out a plane window as the shores of Canada approach and listen to refugees tell their stories throughout the exhibit. Refuge Canada will challenge and inspire as it brings visitors on a journey from darkness to hope, always calling into question preconceptions about what it means to be a refugee.

Refuge Canada was created by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Supported by TD.

Key Dates

“Canada has had a mixed record in welcoming refugees, reacting generously to some while overlooking others. Refuge Canada provides the context for Canada’s place in the global refugee crisis and brings to light the challenges faced by refugees in Canada. The exhibition also shares stories of success and contributions made by people who came to Canada as refugees.” - Dan Conlin, Curator, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

PAMA is the first and only stop in Ontario this year for this impactful exhibition. We felt compelled to bring it here for the residents of the Region of Peel and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to experience as it will most definitely resonate. - Marty Brent, Manager at PAMA

“It is the job of a Museum to be a safe space for discussion and to present material that provokes meaningful conversations for all Canadians. We hope that by presenting these stories of strife, loss and triumph that we can learn about our history and collective contemporary realities in Peel, Canada and globally.” – Sam Cronk; Senior Curator, History at PAMA

About the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21:

The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is located in the national historic site at the Halifax seaport where nearly one million immigrants landed in Canada from 1928 to 1971. Today, as Canada’s sixth national museum, we share the ongoing story of immigration to Canada—past to present, and coast to coast. Our exhibits immerse visitors in the immigration experience and allow for a deeper understanding of how newcomers shape our country. Our staff and collections provide opportunities for visitors to discover the countless journeys to Canada and find their own family’s connection to the story. Countless Journeys. One Canada.

PAMA is a place to explore and learn about Peel Region’s culture and heritage, as well as use conversation, questions and stories to help make new and fascinating connections to the surrounding community. Throughout the year, PAMA offers a variety of workshops and programs for all ages, families and adults. With so many different programs to choose from, PAMA has something for everyone. Operated by the Region of Peel, PAMA is located at 9 Wellington Street, East in Brampton. Visit to learn more.

Media Contacts

Erin Fernandes
Marketing Coordinator
905-791-4055, ext. 7596

Lisa Cox
Communication Specialist
Region of Peel
905-791-7800, ext. 4615

The Region of Peel works with residents and partners to create a healthy, safe and connected Community for Life for approximately 1.5 million people and over 175,000 businesses in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon. Peel's services touch the lives of residents every day. For more information about the Region of Peel, explore and follow us on Twitter @regionofpeel and Instagram