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Monday, July 22, 2019
 
 
Map of Ontario
  The presence of the Italians in Canada was largely limited to Montreal during the 19th century. These immigrants were isolated individuals. By the end of the century the number of Italians entering Canada was growing. The first wave of immigration was on a temporary and seasonal basis. About 600 Italian labourers were reported working in construction in Southeastern Quebec.The official statistics show waves of the Italian immigration in Canada over the years
Map of Ontario
 
 
Years of Immigration
Number of Immigrants
% of Total Canadian Immigration
1901-1910
58,104
3.5
1911-1920
62,663
3.7
1921-1930
26,183
2.1
1931-1940
3,898
2.4
1941-1950
20,682
4.2
1951-1960
250,812
15.9
1961-1970
190,760
13.5
1971-1978
37,087
3.1
Immigration Statistics
 
Despite the high degree of geographical mobility which marked the experience of the early contingents of Italian labourers in Canada, by the first decade of the 20th century Italian communities or “colonies” – as they were often called – had become part of the urban landscape of some of the major Canadian cities. If one translates these figures at the provincial level, it means that Ontario and Quebec together have become the residential choice for more than two thirds of the Italian immigrant population. (Bruno Ramirez, The Italians in Canada, 1989)
 
Italian Population of Canada during 1901-1981
 
Year
Total
Italian
%
1901
5,371,315
10,834
0.2
1911
7,204,838
45,411
0.6
1921
8,788,483
66,769
0.8
1931
10,376,786
98,173
0.9
1941
11,506,655
112,625
1.0
1951
14,009,429
152,245
1.1
1961
18,238,247
450,351
2.5
1971
21,568,310
730,830
3.4
1981
24,343,180
871,715
3.6
 
(Jansen C. J., Fact-book on Italians in Canada, 2nd ed.,
Toronto, Institute for Social Research, York University, 1987)
 
Distribution of People of Italian Origin in Canada (1901 – 1981)
 
Year
Maritimes N%
Quebec N%
Ontario N%
Prairies N%
British Columbia N%
N.W.T N%
1901
357(3.3)
2,805(25.9) 
5,233(48.3)
 329(3.0)
1,976(18.2)
134(1.2)
1911
1,378(3.0)
9,608(20.9)
21,440(46.6)
3,473(7.6)
9,997(21.8)
67(0.1)
1921
2,013 (3.0)
16,141 (24.2)
33,355 (50.0)
6,650 (10.0)
8,587 (12.8)
23 (0.0)
1931
2,330 (2.4)  
24,845 (25.3)  
50,536 (51.5 
8,185 (8.3)
12,254 (12.5)  
23 (0.0) 
1941
2,794 (2.5)
28,051 (24.9)  
60,085 (53.3)  
8,368 (7.4)
13,292 (11.8)
35 (0.0) 
1951
3,288 (2.2)
34,165 (22.4)
87,262 (57.6)  
9,906 (6.5)  
17,207 (11.3)  
57 (0.0) 
1961
5,278 (1.2)
108,552 (24.1)
273,864 (60.8)
23,914 (5.3)
38,399 (8.5)  
344 (0.0) 
1971
5,750 (0.8)  
169,655 (23.2)  
463,095 (63.4) 
38,115 (5.2 
53,795 (7.4)  
410 (0.0) 
1981
4,790 (0.6)
163,735 (21.9)
487,310 (65.2)
38,960 (5.2)
52,760 (7.1)
? (?)
 
 
Italian workers could be found throughout Canada at the turn of the century. Anywhere there was heavy and dangerous seasonal work, there were men from Italy…. The most typical area of seasonal Italian labour was northern Ontario. They had come as immigrants intending to return to their paese, not as permanent immigrants. . (Bruno Ramirez, The Italians in Canada, 1989)
 

The numbers of the newcomers within a decade, compared to the older Italian Canadians, was four to one (150,000 people of Italian descent in 1951 and 450,000 by 1961). Today, over 60% of Italians in Canada live in the province of Ontario. The economic boom of the 1950s attracted many Italians to the province as well as other ethnic groups… During that period the Italians proved themselves excellent builders, industrious labourers, able miners, imaginative small entrepreneurs. Each town of origin in Italy began the history of its own migrations to one or more destinations in Ontario – movements which would multiply significantly in the 1950s and 1960s. And finally, each Italian settlement and Little Italy developed its own social texture with mutual aid societies, voluntary associations, churches and ethnic brokers. (John E. Zucchi, Mining, Railway Building and Street Construction: Italians in Ontario before World War One, Polyphony, Vol.7 No.2)

 

The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.

 

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