Maltese Canadians

The Republic of Malta is an archipelago comprised of seven islands located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Sicily. Although waves of immigration occurred in 1840, around 1907, and between 1918 and 1920, there were few Maltese in Canada until after the Second World War (WWII). The 2016 Canadian census reported 41, 915 people of Maltese origin (12, 815 single and 29, 100 multiple responses).


Background

Malta was a British colony from 1814 until 21 September 1964, when it gained its independence; 10 years later it became a republic. In 2006, the census recorded 37 120 people of Maltese origin in Canada, most of whom emigrated after WWII from the islands of Malta and Gozo. Maltese trace their ethnic and linguistic origins to the Phoenicians. The 2016 census showed 6370 people who reported Maltese as their mother tongue (first language learned).The Maltese, who speak a Semitic language, celebrate their independence day on 21 September.

Migration and Settlement

Once in Canada, the Maltese settled first in Ontario. Between 1946 and 1981 more than 18 000 came to Canada, but immigration has slowed significantly. Almost half of the Maltese in Canada live in Toronto (19,440 people), traditionally with a heavy concentration around Dundas St. West, where the Maltese Franciscan fathers built a church. Maltese clubs and societies are also located in this area. Other Maltese communities are found throughout Ontario, with smaller groups in Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver.


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