Remembering the journey to Canada of Vietnamese refugees

On April 30, 1975, the fall of the city of Saigon marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a refugee crisis. Millions of Vietnamese fled their homes seeking refuge and freedom, with many trying to escape across the South China Sea in small leaky boats. Find out how Canada took immediate action to help these refugees.

Remembering the journey to Canada of Vietnamese refugees

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Transcript: “Remembering the journey to Canada of Vietnamese refugees”

Video length: 1:00 minutes

Soft background music plays throughout the video.

The title “Remembering the Journey to Canada of Vietnamese Refugees” is displayed across the bottom of the screen, over a black and white image of Vietnamese refugees on a boat in the water. The photo then changes from black and white to coloured.

Narrator: On April 30, 1975, the fall of the city of Saigon marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a refugee crisis.

The image fades away and is replaced by a photo of the front of another boat filled with families, mostly children and then fades to another photo of two refugee boats in the water filled with passengers.  

Narrator: Millions of Vietnamese fled their homes seeking refuge and freedom, with many trying to escape across the South China Sea in small leaky boats.

The image fades to another photo of a refugee boat being approached by a rescue raft in the water.

Narrator: Canada recognized the plight of the Vietnamese and immediately accepted thousands of refugees.

The image fades to a photo of a refugee camp with Vietnamese refugees. Beds and supplies can be seen.

Narrator: In July 1979, the Government of Canada, under Prime Minister Joe Clark, announced that it would admit 50,000 “boat people”.

The image fades to a photo of Vietnamese refugees disembarking a plane and boarding a bus in Canada, then fades to another photo of a Canadian woman hugging a male Vietnamese refugee

Narrator:  By the end of 1980, Canada had accepted more than 60,000 Vietnamese refugees, many of whom were sponsored by Canadian families and private organizations.

The image fades away and is replaced by an image of a framed object which is resting on a stand atop a table between two arm chairs in a formal sitting room. The frame contains a bronze medal with text below it. The image changes to a close-up view of the bronze medal, which has a profile portrait of Fridtjof Nansen on it. Finally, the image changes again to show the camera zooming from a wider shot of the sitting room to a close-up shot of the framed medal. The text “The Nansen Medal” is visible in the lower half of the frame, below the medal.

Narrator: For their contributions, the People of Canada were awarded the Nansen Medal by the United Nations High Commissione for Refugees in 1986. This marked the only time the medal has been awarded to an entire nation.

The screen fades to black. The Canada wordmark appears in white with a waving flag against a black screen.

Narrator: A message from the Government of Canada.

The background music stops and the video ends.

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