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Italians in Canada

Over one and a half million citizens of Canada claim Italian origins. Many speak fluent Italian and Canadian English. They originally came to this country as immigrants looking for work. The highest number of Italian-Canadians reside in the Toronto area, where over 30% of all the Italians currently live.

Why Did the Italians Come to Canada?

The first migrants began to arrive in 1861, and this continued throughout the 20th century. Although the early settlers were mainly craftsmen, artists, and musicians, it was the onset of mining, industrialization, and heavy industry that saw a massive influx of Italians. Most Europeans were actively recruited by labor agencies, and Italians were attracted by a wealth of work opportunities. Many Italian workers returned to Italy for holidays and further encouraged more and more of their people to emigrate to Canada. Furthermore, once settled there, they invited their friends and relatives to join them, therefore leading to an exponential rise in the population of Italian-Canadians.

The Effect of Italian Immigrants in Canada

Italian-Canadians developed various political, cultural, religious, and labor associations in addition to community media in the form of newspapers, television, and radio programs. The Italian-Canadian community significantly influenced the social, cultural, and economic fabric of Canada. Plus, they also introduced new types of food to the Canadian public. This included spaghetti, pasta, risotto, and pizza. Today the Italians in Canada have a legacy of providing some of the best and most popular Italian restaurants in the world.