Albanian Community in Canada

ALBANIANS

Demographics

According to the 2006 census, there were 22,395 Albanian Canadians in Canada, of which 16,915 resided in Ontario and 11,385 (51%) in the GTA (Vaughan, City of Toronto, Caledon). Hamilton, Kitchener, London and Peterborough are areas on the outskirts of Toronto who also have Albanian communities. However the 2nd and 3rd generation Canadians of ethnic Albanians can not specifically name their ethnicity. Therefore, the number of people who descended from Albanians in the country, must be higher than the figure shown. Most socio-cultural activities and festivals representing local communities and family groups. The Albanians are very patriarchal and often live in extended family households. Currently, Albanian Canadians still appreciate their ethnicity, and national history of their country of origin, although their ancestors may have left Albania for centuries. The Albanians of Albania are working on their business and social organizations, often found in the food industry. The Albanians do not come only from Albania and Kosovo, as they come, at least, also from others five different countries: Macedonia, Greece, Italy, Serbia and Montenegro. The Albanian-Canadians belong (as the Albanians) to five religious groups – Christian (Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical) and Muslim (Sunni and Bektashi).

History

The first Albanians who settled in Canada arrived in the early 20th century, due to internal uprisings that occurred in their country of origin. However, after World War II (1938–1943) very few Albanians came to Canada, and most arrived from the former Yugoslavia, due to a communist regime in Albania, which prohibited foreign travel. Most Albanians who emigrated to Canada country after the war decided to settle in Montreal or Toronto. There were also some Albanian workers who resided in Calgary and Ontario (e.g. Peterborough). Despite of this migration, by 1986, the Albanians was recorded at just under 1,500. However, in 1991, these figures nearly doubled. The number of Albanians in Canada peaked in the late 1990s as they fled economic and political crisis in both Albania and Yugoslavia.

Later, at the beginning of the 21st century, a new war prompted a second wave of immigration of Albanians in Canada. This armed conflict was a clash between Albanian and Serb military and police, which caused that many Albanians feel compelled to leave Kosovo as refugees, many of them emigrating to Canada. Thus, in 1999, the Government of Canada established a residency program to allow 7,000 refugees Kosovar Albanians.

As with professionals from other countries, there has been a large influx of young Albanian professionals who immigrate to Canada for a better life.

Other sources:

The Canadian Encyclopedia

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/albanians/

Heritage Toronto

http://heritagetoronto.org/albanians-in-toronto/

Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples

http://multiculturalcanada.ca/Encyclopedia/A-Z/a18/1

 

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