The Cabbaggetown Regent Park Museum, Riverdale Farm location, was host to over 9,000 visitors from February to November 2009 despite being closed for two months due to the strike. Visitors came from as far afield as Russia, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand, and China to name a few.
Emmigration & Transportation

With so many concerns in Ireland (the Famine, the Act of Union), many individuals and families decided to emigrate to North America on boats. In some cases, people would apply to ships to be taken across the Atlantic. This became a problem when the most affluent and influential were more likely to be chosen than a family in poverty. On top of this, these emigrant ships were not initially built to hold such a large number of passengers, but ship captains made a greater profit from transporting people, which would have disastrous consequences.

Most trips across the ocean would take six to ten weeks (most were told upon embarking on the ship that the journey would take about three weeks) and the passengers would have to endure starvation, unsanitary conditions, cramped space, and disease. Cholera, an infectious and sometimes fatal disease in the small intestine, became a large problem in such close quarters and unhealthy living spaces. This typically happens when a water supply is tainted and many people suffered and were often quarantined upon arrival in Canada.

Those passengers who paid lower prices to reserve a place on the ship were only given water and a berth with no other amenities supplied. This meant that they were required to bring their own supplies, such as food, with them to survive the crossing. Most times these supplies ran out half way through the voyage, and with no other place to buy goods, passengers would use their savings to buy high priced food from the captain and often these items had passed their expiration date.

There were nine Passenger Acts created in the 1800s, but with so many ships leaving from so many ports, the emigration officers had a difficult time keeping track of all of them. While many of these ships were dangerous places to be, like the coffin ships (ships that were insured and worth more sunk than afloat, meaning the lives aboard were at risk), some captains made efforts to make the voyage safer for emigrants. Captains like John Cooke would clean and sanitize the ship frequently and had a doctor on board to help the sick.

When Aunt Polly's family left during the famine, they took a ship called The Sestostris, a ship John Cooke captained. While on their journey, four of Aunt Polly's siblings lost their lives both at sea and once they arrived on land.

Derry Harbour in the 1840s

One of the many Cooke ships leaving port

A typical advertisement for voyages across the Atlantic