Romanian Canadians

In 1878 Romanian independence from the Ottoman Empire was recognized.


In 1878 Romanian independence from the Ottoman Empire was recognized. Many Romanians were living in provinces (Transylvania and Bukovina) then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it was from these provinces, particularly the latter, that many Romanians immigrated to Canada, although they had been preceded by individual priests from Bucharest sent to the early settlements of Canada. They were motivated by a wish to escape living under a foreign government, a desire to own land, and general economic conditions. Most of the early immigrants were peasants and by 1895 they were arriving by the thousands. By 1914 there were 8301 Romanians in Canada; in 1921 the number was 13 470, though these figures are tentative, since many emigrated from regions which were not part of Romania until 1918, and others came from Hungary, Austria and Russia.

Early settlements were founded at Regina, Limerick, Dysart, Kayville, Flintoft and Canora (Saskatchewan); Inglis (Manitoba); and Boian (Alberta). Because French has traditionally been the second language of Romania, many Romanians were attracted to Québec, where they established themselves in Montréal. Between 1921 and 1929, many new immigrants arrived to join relatives and friends, so by 1931 there were some 29 000 Romanian Canadians. After WWII a significant number of Romanians immigrated to Canada, mainly professionals who settled in Montréal, Toronto, Hamilton, London and Windsor. At present, Toronto has the largest Romanian community in the country. The 2006 census recorded 192 170 people of Romanian origin (single and multiple response).

Most Romanians belong to the Romanian ORTHODOX CHURCH (the first such church in North America was the Church of St Nicholas, built in Regina in 1901). Many parishes are attached to a youth group which is a branch of American Romanian Orthodox youth. Mutual benefit and cultural organizations have existed in most communities and many were established as part of an American organization - the Union and League of Romanian Societies of America. According to the 2006 census, 80 245 people reported Romanian as their mother tongue (first language learned). Two Romanian-language newspapers were published in Canada: Ecouri Romanesti (Romanian Echoes, 1974-1984) and Curantul Romanesc (The Romanian Voice). Lively homeland religious and social events centre are organized by community rural churches. Ethnic consciousness has decreased considerably among descendants of the early immigrants, accelerated by the higher educational levels and a wide dispersal of the post-WWII immigrants.

Further Reading

  • G. James Patterson, The Romanians of Saskatchewan (1977); "The Persistence of White Ethnicity in Canada: The Case of the Romanians,"East European Quarterly, 19 (Winter 1986); "Romanians" in The Peoples of Canada: An Encyclopedia for the Country (1996).

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