Georges Vanier (who became the first Francophone Governor-General of Canada) and his wife, Pauline, were Canadian diplomats in the UK and Paris prior to 1940. Pauline, especially, sought to aid displaced persons and refugees during the Second World War (1939-1945). After the war, they lobbied for changes to Canadian immigration laws; the result: 186,000 European refugees settling in Canada between 1947 and 1953.

We greeted the refugees with drinks, refreshments, clothes and survival kits, and tried to reach their families, friends or anyone who might take them in. Many, however, had no idea whether anyone they knew was still alive, let alone their whereabouts. For them, we arranged temporary shelter. Then we took their photos and stuck these up on long panels lining both sides of the railway station in hopes that someone in the crowds would recognize the name or the picture of a long-lost relative or friend. Pauline Vanier

Harris, Carolyn,  “Pauline Vanier“.  The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published April 13, 2018; Last Edited June 28, 2018.

*oatcakes & snowdrops: Canadian women’s history, one minute, one moment @ a time . . .