Gates to Better Life

The BEAVERBRAE - the gates to better life (1947 - 1954)The Beaverbrae ship was purchased by Canadian Pacific on 2nd of September 1947. It was the only ship to carry cargo eastbound and passengers westbound (others were just cargo ships) and was also the only one under Canadian registration and with a Canadian crew. Canadian Pacific worked with the International Refugee Org. and the Canadian Christian Council for the Relief of Refugees. The refugees were forwarded from collection points on the German frontiers to the despatching centre in Bremen. Here they were examined by Canadian government officials for health and security. The Beaverbrae ship made an average of one sailing each month and usually carried between 500-700 emigrants, of whom 1 in 5 where children. They were destined for friends or relatives in Canada and few could speak English. When advice was received in Montreal that the ship had left Bremen, arrangements were made for two special trains with colonist and baggage cars to be assembled at the port entry. The first train would usually be routed to Montreal and Toronto, and the second to Winnipeg and points west. The Beaverbrae made its last emigrant voyage when it left Bremen on 28th July 1954, having carried over 38,000 refugees to Canada. Later ship was sold. 

Irmgard Mitterhuber who lives right now in Langenburg not just saw that ship but was one of those passengers in 1951. 
"My uncle Frank Mehringer and his wife Erna loved in Marchwell. They didn't have children, so they wrote a letter to my mom asking if somebody wants to come to live in Canada with them. It was very hard to live in Austria after war, so my mom asked all her 4 children if anybody wants to go. I said "I want" right away" - her story begins Irmgard Mitterhuber. "I was just 9 years old, so Government didn't let me come. Uncle decided to adopt me. Adoption procedure took 4 years. In 1951 at the age of 13 I left Austria. My dad took me to Salzburg to train station and from there I went to Bremen all by myself. It was 2nd of December when I got on Beaverbrae cargo ship. Usually trips lasted 7 days but we faced big storm and were stuck at roaring sea all 17 days. I thought we will not make it. Everybody was seasick, lots of water and ice were around. I was lucky I didn't get sick" - remembers Irmgard. The ship landed in Saint John, NB. From there Irmgard took train to Winnipeg. "I arrived to Marchwell on 29th of December. My trip lasted 27 days. My uncle every day for 10 days 6 a.m. in the morning in winter was going to train station to meet me but I was not there. They thought that I will not come so they decided that 29th of December will be their last trip to train station. Exactly that day I arrived. It was the luckiest day of my life. After 2 days I celebrated New Year - my new start!" - says Irmgard. And this is not the end. In 1958 after 8 years she returned to Austria to attend her sisters wedding and during this visit she met Ernst Mitterhuber. They fell in love with each other and Ernst took decision to follow Irmgard to Canada. But the only one way Ernst could come was if Irmgard will send the letter to him promising that they will marry in 30 days. So, on 20th of June in 1959 they married here in Canada and this year in 2019 they will celebrate 60 years wedding anniversary.

And this is not the end. In 1958 after 8 years she returned to Austria to attend her sisters wedding and during this visit she met Ernst Mitterhuber. They fell in love with each other and Ernst took decision to follow Irmgard to Canada. But the only one way Ernst could come was if Irmgard will send the letter to him promising that they will marry in 30 days. So, on 20th of June in 1959 they married here in Canada and this year in 2019 they will celebrate 60 years wedding anniversary.