Where I am From
The Poel Family
The Poel Family In Holland
My Grandpa, Peter Poel, was born on November 4, 1930 and was the youngest of eight children. They had a crop farm in the Beemster, Holland , where they grew potatoes, turnips, and other vegetables.
My grandpa and his next oldest brother Gerard
The Poel family in Holland
A crop of potatoes on their farm
Milking a cow by hand. A lot of their work was done by hand and by horses.
My grandpa was 22 years old and ready to start farming, but his oldest brother took over the family farm. The second World War left Holland with a poor economy. This and because Holland is a small country, it made it nearly impossible to buy any land. So he and his next oldest brother Gerard, who was 24 years old, decided to move over to Canada.
In 1952, the two of them left on a boat called the S.S. Ryndam. Because so many people were leaving Holland after the war, the Dutch government only let each person take about $200 along with them. But they did not suffer any hardships on the boat, in fact they enjoyed it because it was just the two of them and they were young and didnt have to take care of any children.
Once in Canada, he and his brother stayed with a family near St. Marys that sponsored them, meaning they were responsible for them if they needed help. He started working. He picked tobacco, but had to quit because he got tobacco poisoning. He worked in construction then he worked in a factory in Stratford. A difficult part of coming to Canada was learning English because all he spoke was dutch. Another challenge was being apart from his family.
There were events like dances and parties held for Dutch immigrants and that is where my grandma and grandpa met in 1957. My Grandmas whole family also immigrated to Canada in 1952 when she was 17. They got married 6 months after they met. They lived in Stratford and started saving money so they could buy a farm. In 1964, they bought a dairy farm on cobble hills road. It had a milking parlor which was rare at the time. eventually, they had five kids on that farm (one being my mom).
The dairy farm they bought in 1964
In what ways would it be different to immigrate to Canada now?
Back then, anyone could come to Canada, but now you need permission from the Canadian government to be able to move over to canada. Also, now if you immigrated to Canada, you would get more help finding a job and stuff like that, but back then, you were pretty much on your own.