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Your tour guide, Shirley Lum.



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Well-Traveled Roots: Plan your next vacation to a destination that explores your family history
   Anyone who came to Canada across the Atlantic between 1928 and 1971 probably passed through Pier 21 in Halifax, now the site of Canada's Immigration Museum. The exhibits include photos, a model of the arrival hall, baggage area, infirmary and nursery, and child-oriented items like a teddy bear and small suitcase carried by a young immigrant. The moving 3D film, Oceans of Hope, depicts stories of children fleeing Europe, soldiers wounded in the Second World War, and some of the 50,000 war brides who settled here.
   Pier 21 is also a wonderful resource for tracing family histories. The new Research Centre on the main floor holds 1,600 stories, 500 recorded interviews, 700 donated books, 300 films, and thousands of immigration documents. If your ancestors came through here, you may be able to pull up their files and see how they answered official questions such as, “How much money do you have?” or “What is your profession?” (I was interested to find that my uncle, at the age of seven, listed “scholar” as his profession.) Families that passed through Pier 21 can also arrange to sit with a researcher and tell their stories about coming to Canada. I brought my mom here a few years ago, and for two hours she told stories I’d never heard before, such as how her father earned his first 50-cent piece helping a man with his luggage; the coin sat on his desk until the day he died. You can also e-mail your stories to them — instructions are on the website.
   Explore African-Canadian heritage with a visit to Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historic Site in Dresden, Ont., or by retracing the route of the Underground Railroad in southern Ontario, including the terminus at Buxton National Historic Site and Museum. For Black History destinations farther afield, head to Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, or the African-American Baseball Experience at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
   Jewish families can visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City, where you can sign up for an interactive tour of a turn-of-the-century apartment in this still-Jewish district. Your guide is a teenager in 1916 dress, playing the role of the young girl who lived in the crowded apartment.
   Families whose ancestors came to Canada as pioneers shouldn’t miss Kings Landing Historical Settlement on the Saint John River in New Brunswick, near Fredericton. Kids nine to 14 can live on site for a week as pioneers (book early — this program is filled by early spring every year) and all ages can participate in games on any afternoon. Parents can sign up to learn about open-hearth cooking or driving oxen, or they can have their tea leaves read.
   Chinese children will love Shirley Lum’s “Taste of the World” tour of Toronto’s Chinatown. They’ll taste coconut buns and black tea eggs at a Taiwanese bakery, view a Harry Potter–like potion at a Chinese herbalist’s, see buckets of live snails at a bustling Asian supermarket and learn chopstick etiquette over dim sum at a family-friendly restaurant. Or make plans to attend the Night Market in Richmond, B.C.’s Chinatown, from May to October. It features nightly treasure hunts, street performances and more than 400 vendors selling everything from toys to aromatic foods.
- Kate Pocock , Today's Parent , December 2007


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For Foodies…

17th Annual Chinese Lunar New Year in Toronto's 2nd Chinatown Tours

Jan. 24, 25, 26, Feb. 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 2014 NEW Fridays!

7th Annual Chinese New Year’s Day 11-Course Banquet
Fri. Jan. 31st, 2014

2nd Annual Chinese New Year's Lantern Festival 9-Course Banquet
Fri. Feb. 14th 2014

Multi-Ethnic Spring Bounty in Kensington Market
March to June TBA

Qing Ming Festival in Toronto’s 2nd Chinatown
Sunday April 6, 2014

Dragon Boat Festival: Toronto’s Lost First Chinatown + Second Chinatown
May 25, June 1, 2014

Multi-Ethnic Summer Bounty: Kensington Market
July – Sept. TBA

Lotus Festival: Toronto’s Lost First Chinatown + Second Chinatown
July 2014

Harvest Moon Festival: Toronto’s Lost First Chinatown + Second Chinatown + Broadview Gateway
Aug. 24– Sept. 7

Multi-Ethnic Harvest Season: Toronto’s Kensington Market & Chinatown
Nov. 17, 24, 2014

Celebrate All The Winter Holidays in Kensington Market
Dec. 6, 13, 20, 2014

For Literary Detectives…

79th Anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s last home!
Sat. March 9, 2014

Charles Dickens' Toronto 1842 Visit
Sat. May 3, 2014

Happy early 140th Birthday, Lucy Maud Montgomery!
Sun. Nov. 30, 2014

For Ghost Hunters…

Ghostly March Break Walks
Fri. March 14 – 21, 2014

May Equinox Ghost Festival
April 29 – May 2, 2014

Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival
Aug. tba, 2014

Halloween Week Special
Oct. 21 – Oct. 29, 2014

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