I learned in the TV series, The Wind at My Back, of Canada's policy of turning away Jewish refugees during Nazi oppression. In the episode I watched, a young Jewish musician smuggled from Ontario to New York. to escape Canadian deportation. I do recall the U.S. turning away some Jewish refugees, Yet between 1938 -39, 85,000 Jewish refugees were welcomed to the U.S. I didn't realize there was such policy and antisemitism in Canada towards Jews attempting to escape the Holocaust.
(1933 - 45) During the 12-year period of Nazi rule in Germany, Canada admitted fewer than 5,000 Jewish refugees, one of the worst records of any democracies. In 1945, asked how many Jews Canada would admit after the war, a Canadian official answered “None is too many”.reference.
Much to our shame, that statement and that deplorable record of refugee immigration all came down to one man: Fredrick Blair. Blair was a church official and (ironies of ironies) the son of elite Scottish immigrants. He became an immigration officer in 1905 and quickly advanced in the ranks until he was in charge of the whole shebang. He was also staunchly racist and anti-Semitic.
EDIT: By the way, Fredrick Blair was the 'official' who said, "None is too many."
We are not particularly proud of that time period nor of the man himself. It's still disturbing to us how many refugees died needlessly because of Blair's 'Closed Door' policy.
Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. - Plutarch
.Something else I learned more recently, although a some Black Canadians originated from Africa as slaves. Most came as refugees from America especially during the War Between the States, in the Underground Railway.
Though Blacks have immigrated to Canada from the U.S. since the time of the earliest European settlements up until the present, the majority of the early Black immigrants came as a result of three significant American historical events: the American Revolution (1775–1783), the War of 1812 (1812–1814), and the Underground Railway movement (1830–1865). A total of over 35,000 Blacks immigrated during these three periods: approximately 5,500 came during the American Revolution; 2,000 during the War of 1812; and over 30,000 when the Underground Railway was in operation. reference-3
There is a church here in Baltimore City that is believed to have been part of the Underground Railroad.
The Orchard Street United Methodist Church was constructed in 1837 and is the oldest standing structure erected by African Americans in the city of Baltimore. The church was founded by Trueman Pratt, a free black man born into slavery in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Unearthed beneath the church is a mile-long narrow tunnel that many believe was used along the Underground Railroad. The church's congregants are believed to have played an important role in sheltering and assisting escaped slaves. The church is no longer an active place of worship; it instead stands as a museum of black history in the state of Maryland. It is also home to the Greater Baltimore chapter of the National Urban League, a civil rights organization that advocates against racial discrimination in the United States.
Underground Railroad tunnel entrance at Orchard Street Church; (c) SoulOfAmeric