Immigration to Canada from Syria began in 1882. The first wave consisted mainly of small merchants; the second wave, beginning in 1946 (including Palestinians), was mainly of blue-collar workers; the third wave, beginning in 1962 (including Palestinians) brought white- and blue-collar workers in about equal numbers.
Immigration to Canada by the peoples of this eastern portion of modern Yugoslavia began in significant numbers after World War II, and by 1986 some 12,970 Serbian-Canadians lived and worked in the industrial areas of southern Ontario. Others lived in Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Although some Newfoundland place-names bear witness to early visits and Spanish-Portuguese traditions have survived in a Montreal synagogue, the Portuguese community in Canada did not begin to grow until 1953 when immigrants, largely from Madeira, were sponsored by the Canadian government as agricultural workers in Ontario.
It is believed that the Norse (Vikings) visited North America around the year 1000. However, people from modern Norway, the western kingdom of the Scandinavian peninsula, immigrated to Canada from the USA during the 1890s and moved into the Prairies and particularly to British Columbia, whose coastline so closely resembled that of their homeland.
The first Dutch immigrants to Canada arrived via the USA during the late-18th and early-19th centuries as part of the United Empire Loyalist contingent. By 1867 there were 29,000 persons of Dutch origin; in 1986 there were more than 850,000, many of whom arrived soon after World War II.
In 1986 Canadians of German descent formed the fifth largest ethnic group in Canada - after French, English, Scottish, and Irish. In 1986 the figure was approximately 900,000 of German origin and an estimated 1,700,000 with German-speaking ancestors from various parts of Europe.
The first Greek immigrants to Canada arrived in 1891. By 1961 there were 56,000 people of Greek origin in Canada; by 1986 177,310. The largest group originated from Peloponnesus, but Macedonia, Crete, and other regions also are represented. The majority profess Greek Orthodoxy.
Of all Western countries, with the possible exception of the United Kingdom, France has had the chief and most persistent influence on the development of music in Canada. The French, arriving at the beginning of the 17th century, were the first Europeans to colonize the country.