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Jewish Canadians

Unlike most immigrants to Canada, Jews did not come from a place where they were the majority cultural group. Jews were internationally dispersed at the time of the ancient Roman Empire and after unsuccessful revolts against it lost their sovereignty in their ancient homeland. Subsequently, Jews lived, sometimes for many centuries, as minorities in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), 329,495 Canadians identified as Jewish when responding to the census question on religion, and 309,650 identified as being of Jewish ethnic origin (115,640 single and 194,010 multiple responses).

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Lillian Freiman

Lillian Freiman (née Bilsky), OBE, benefactor, community activist, organizer, civic leader and Zionist (born 6 June 1885 in Mattawa, ON; died 2 November 1940 in Montreal, QC). Lillian Freiman used her high social status and wealth to help those less fortunate, both within and beyond the Jewish community. For her work assisting First World War soldiers and leading the Poppy Campaign, the Canadian Legion made her an honorary life member in 1933. Freiman was the first woman to receive this honour.

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Irving Abella

Irving Martin Abella, CM, O Ont, FRSC, historian, professor, administrator (born 2 July 1940 in Toronto, ON; died 3 July 2022). Irving Abella was a professor of history at York University from 1968 to 2013. He was a pioneer in the field of Canadian labour history and also specialized in the history of Jewish people in Canada. Abella was co-author of the book None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933–1948, which documented antisemitism in the Canadian government’s immigration policies. Abella served as president of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 1992 to 1995 and helped establish the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. He was a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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Catholicism in Canada

The Greek word katholikos means "general" or "universal." It refers most commonly to the Christianity that is in communion with the pope and the Church of Rome, that is, the beliefs and practices of a Catholic Church. The modern ecumenical movement often refers to all Christians as sharing in the church's Catholicism, which is derived from the universal headship and reign of Christ. According to the 2021 census, 10.9 million Canadians (29.9 per cent) identified as Catholic.

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Naheed Nenshi

Naheed Kurban Nenshi, business consultant, professor, mayor of Calgary, AB, 2010–21 (born 2 February 1972 in Toronto, ON). Naheed Nenshi was elected Mayor of Calgary for three terms, from 2010 to 2021. He was the first Muslim mayor of a major North American city. He was also the first Canadian mayor to be awarded the World Mayor Prize by the British-based City Mayors Foundation. Nenshi was known for pioneering the use of social media in political campaigns, promoting civic engagement, completing various large infrastructure projects and guiding Calgary’s recovery following devastating floods in 2013.

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Sammy Luftspring

Sammy Luftspring, boxer, referee, businessman (born 14 March 1915 in Toronto, ON; died 27 September 2000 in Toronto, ON). Sammy Luftspring was the Ontario amateur featherweight champion in 1933 and the Canadian amateur welterweight champion in 1938. A proud Jew, Luftspring wore the Star of David on his trunks and was subjected to anti-Semitism throughout his life. He fought Nazi youth in the Christie Pits Riot and is perhaps best remembered for boycotting the 1936 Olympic Summer Games in Berlin. He also landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for officiating some 2,000 fights. He has been inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.

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Jesuits

The Society of Jesus was founded in Paris in 1534 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish soldier who underwent a profound religious experience while recovering from serious wounds. Loyola called the society "The Company of Jesus" to indicate its military spirit. The order was authorized in September 1540 to ordain its members. The name "Jesuits" (meaning those who too frequently use or appropriate the name of Jesus) was used against the order as a term of reproach but in time was accepted by its members.

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Bill Blaikie

William Alexander Blaikie, PC, OC, politician, United Church minister, professor (born 19 June 1951 in Winnipeg, MB; died 24 September 2022 in Winnipeg). Bill Blaikie was an ordained United Church minister and a proponent of social gospel politics. A major figure in the New Democratic Party (NDP), he served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for 29 years. He sought the leadership of the federal NDP in 2003, placing second behind Jack Layton. After retiring from federal politics, he was elected to one term as a Manitoba MLA and served as minister of conservation. He was also an adjunct professor of theology and politics at the University of Winnipeg.

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Islam

Islam is one of the major religions of the world and is estimated to be the fastest-growing religion in Canada and worldwide. Its 1.6 billion adherents are scattered throughout the globe, though concentrated most densely in South and Central Asia, the Middle East, and North and East Africa. In 2021, there were nearly 1.8 million Muslims in Canada (4.9 per cent of the population).