Romanian community in Canada

History

Before World War

Romanians came to Canada in several periods. The first period was at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Romanians had discovered Canada towards the end of the 19th century, after Clifford Sifton – Minister of Home Affairs representing a Liberal government that had promised to populate the West – had visited Bukovina. From 1886 to 1900, a group of Romanians established themselves to the Saskatchewan, at Clifford Sifton’s advice. The first two Romanian families that migrated to Canada from the Bukovina village of Boian stopped in Alberta in 1898. Other 30 Bucovina families took their example and followed them and they gave the settlement the name of their home village.

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, many Romanians from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire (Transylvania, Bukovina, Banat, Crişana and Maramureş) migrated to the Prairie provinces of Canada to work as farmers. The Dominion Lands Act encouraged homesteaders to come to the area. The migrants from the Romanian Old Kingdom were mostly Romanian Jews. Many Romanians came to Canada and the United States between 1895 and 1920.[3]

St Nicholas’s Romanian Orthodox Church (established in 1902[4] in Regina, Saskatchewan) is the oldest Romanian Orthodox parish in North America;[5] St George’s Cathedral (founded in 1914[6] though the present building dates from the early 1960s), is the episcopal seat of the Romanian Orthodox Bishop of Regina. Today, the Romanian school from Boian, Alberta is a museum showcasing Romanian immigration, photos of the first Romanian settlers in the area and the typical Romanian farmer’s life in rural Canada.

During the interwar period the number of ethnic Romanians who migrated to Canada decreased as a consequence of the economic development in Romania, but the number of Romanian Jews who migrated to Canada increased, mostly after the rise of the Iron Guard.

According to Canada 1911 Census, in Canada lived 15,000 Romanians and in 1941: 25,000 Romanians.

After World War

A group of Romanian Canadians from Regina and Nicolae Ceauşescu in 1979

The second period was between 1945–1955, when Romanians came after the World War II, during Communist Romania, at a time when Romania was in a difficult period in its history. In this period, 1,460,000 Romanian citizens left their country. Many of them were political refugees. Many of them left for Canada. DOT

After the fall of Communism

Another wave of Romanian emigration to Canada occurred after 1989 following the Romanian Revolution of 1989, when people obtained the right to leave Romania subsequent to the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. The wave intensified after the Mineriad of 13–15 June 1990. After 1998, for the fourth time, a large number of Romanians were leaving Europe to come to Canada.

In 2001, there were 131,830 Canadian residents who identified themselves of Romanian origin, of which 53,320 were single-origin Romanians and 78,505 were of mixed Romanian and other origins.[7] The largest concentrations of Romanian-Canadians are in the Greater Toronto Area (approx. 75,000) and in the Greater Montreal Area (approx. 40,000).

According to the Canada 2001 Census, the number of people of Romanian mother tongue in Canada was 50,895 and 61,330 Canadians claimed to speak Romanian. The number of people born in Romania was 61,330 and 2,380 were born in Moldova.

Immigration from Romania had been increasing in recent years. Figures from Citizenship and Immigration Canada show that the annual number of new permanent residents from Romania increased from an average of over 3,700 per year in the late 1990s to an average of over 5,500 per year since 2001.

The year 2004 is most likely the peak year for Romanians seeking a place to work abroad, temporary or permanent, made Canada their favourite destination.

After 2004, the immigration from Romania constantly decreased.
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