When Iulia Hanganu first arrived in Canada she expected to hear English, instead the first words she heard were in French.
“I didn’t know it was going be bilingual,” Hanganu recalled. “I was surprised, but in a great way.”
Hanganu was 14 years old when her family immigrated to Toronto from Timisoara, Romania in 2003.
“I didn’t know much about [Canada] at the time,” Hanganu said. “In Grade 4 someone from my elementary school, from my class moved to Toronto. So the little information I had was kind of stories of what it was like in school and stuff like that, but I didn’t really know much about Canada.”
Hanganu’s story is just one of many that residents of the Harbour City can learn about at the Nanaimo Museum’s latest exhibit, Canada: Day 1, which is on currently display until late August.
“It’s a wonderful exhibit filled with stories,” said Debbie Trueman, general manager of the museum. “It’s people’s stories of their first experience on Day 1 in Canada.”
Canada: Day 1 was organized by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and is its first travelling exhibit, which features interactive videos, artifacts and more.
“It’s emotional.Some of them are funny, some of them are sad,” Trueman said about the stories featured at the exhibit.
Hanganu, now in her mid 20s, currently works for the Government of Ontario in Toronto. She remains grateful that she moved to Canada.
“I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have had the opportunties that I have had here, back home,” Hanganu said.
Canada: Day 1 is currently on display at the Nanaimo Museum until Aug. 29.