Feature Exhibitions

Leaving Home, Finding Home in Oshawa:

Displaced Persons and Stories of Immigration

Opening Fall 2021


The aftermath of World War II saw a world faced with mass movement of human beings on a scale never before seen. Initially the idea was to “repatriate” people back to the countries from where they had been displaced, and there were over 1.1 million people left who were determined "non repatriable." The job of finding homes for these individuals was handed over to the newly created International Refugee Organization (IRO).

In 1947 the Canadian government agreed to open the borders for 5000 displaced persons to come to Canada and begin life anew.

Since 2016, the Oshawa Museum has been undertaking a very important oral history project. The focus of this project was to External link opens in new tab or windowcollect the memories of those who arrived in Oshawa as displaced persons and post-war immigrants, many hundreds of whom resettled in Oshawa due to economic and social factors, positively contributed to the city as both an industrial hub and as the proud beneficiary of a rich cultural landscape.

The information collected is becoming a part of the archival record and will be the basis of the Oshawa Museum’s spring 2021 exhibition, Leaving Home and Finding Home in Oshawa: Displaced Persons and Stories of Immigration.  The exhibition was planned for 2020 but was postponed due to the Pandemic.


Experience our NEW 360 tour of Leaving Home, Finding Home in Oshawa

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Thank you to our sponsor, Ontario Power Generation, and donors for helping make this possible


Coming Soon...

From Ship to Shore: Looking at Oshawa's Relationship with Lake Ontario

Opening 2022


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Plan Your Visit

The Oshawa Museum is open year round for tours - learn more about how you can experience the Home to Oshawa's History!

Please note: There HAS been changes to tour procedures due to COVID-19 - please read the information on the 'Plan Your Visit' page carefully.

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Programming at the OM

Leaving Home, Finding Home in Oshawa Education Program

Travel on a journey through the Oshawa Museum's latest exhibit that connects oral histories, artefacts, and primary and secondary sources: Leaving Home, Finding Home in Oshawa. Students will experience what it was like to be Displaced Persons in Oshawa.

Using the stories from those who contributed to the exhibit, students will research their lives, learn to empathize with the unfamiliar experiences of Displaced Persons and contemplate their own family’s arrival in Canada.

This program is free and offered as a virtual program, facilitated by Museum staff. While directly linked to the grade six social studies Ontario curriculum, it can be tailored to other grades discussing aspects of traditions and immigration. Teachers will need to schedule 60 - 90 minutes for this program to be facilitated effectively.

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The Oshawa Museum’s first digital memory box is waiting for you to unpack! Do You Remember? An Online Trip Down Memory Lane, created for an older adult audience, features twenty advertisements from between 1967 and 1999 that will have you rockin’, rollin’ and reminiscing! The digital memory box includes discussion questions, word puzzles, and links to Spotify playlists.