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Ethnocultural diversity

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Canada is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries. Throughout Canada’s history, a variety of ethnocultural groups have enriched our ever-changing cultural mosaic and impacted on our national character.

In 1871, shortly after Confederation, the population of Canada was about 3.5 million. That year, 23,000 were Aboriginal peoples (North American Indian and Inuit) and 2.1 million—more than half the entire Canadian population—were of British origin (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Those whose roots were in Europe (predominantly France and Germany) numbered more than a million. However, virtually no Canadians from Asian backgrounds were evident in population counts for 1871.

Fast forward to 1961 and a Canada of 18.2 million citizens, and the ethnic kaleidoscope had shifted.

the Aboriginal population was more than 220,000 strong. Canadians from Europe, mainly France and Germany, dominated the scene, numbering 9.6 million, while only 8.0 million were of British origin. Asiatic Canadians, 121,000, had been increasing steadily since their arrival was noted in the 1881 Census.

The population since 1961 has been characterized by an increasing proportion of Canadians of non-British and non-European origins, most notably Chinese, Filipino and Arab/West Asian ethnic groups. 

Some countries, notably the United States, act as a ‘melting pot’ of new cultures: as immigrants arrive, they are encouraged to assimilate with the status quo of the country. Canada has always favoured the ‘cultural mosaic’ approach, where immigrants retain their native cultures—language, food, clothing, religion, etc.—and celebrate and share them with other Canadians.



1917 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Arrivals at inland and ocean ports in Canada, by nationalities, fiscal years 1911 to 1917
  2. Destination of immigrants into Canada, by province, 1901 to 1917
  3. Expenditure on immigration, by fiscal year, 1868 to 1917
  4. Juvenile immigrants and applications for their services, 1901 to 1927
  5. Number of births, marriages and deaths, by principal cities, 1913 to 1915
  6. Number of deportations after admission, by nationalities, 1903 to 1917
  7. Number of immigrant arrivals in Canada, by fiscal year and place of origin, 1897 to 1917
  8. Record of Chinese immigration, 1886 to 1927
  9. Record of Oriental immigration, 1901 to 1927
  10. Rejections of immigrants upon arrival at ocean ports and deportations after admission, by principal causes, 1903 to 1917
  11. Sex, occupation and destination of immigrants for the fiscal year ended March 31, 1917


1927 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Canadians returned from the United States, fiscal years ended March 31, 1925 to 1927, and by months, April to December, 1937
  2. Countries of birth of immigrants arriving via ocean ports and from the United States, fiscal years ended March 31, 1926 and 1927
  3. Destinations of immigrants into Canada, by provinces, fiscal years 1991 to 1927
  4. Expenditure on immigration, fiscal years ended 1868 to 1927
  5. Juvenile immigrants and applications for their services, 1901 to 1927
  6. Languages of Immigrants 10 years old and older, arriving via ocean ports and from the United States, fiscal years ended March 31, 1926 and 1927
  7. Nationalities of immigrants arriving via ocean ports and from the United States, fiscal years ended March 31, 1926 and 1927
  8. Number of immigrant arrivals in Canada from the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries, fiscal years ended 1897 to 1927
  9. Occupations and destinations of immigrants arriving in Canada, fiscal years ended March 31, 1926 and 1927
  10. Racial origins of immigrants into Canada, arriving via ocean ports and from the United States, fiscal years ended March 31, 1926 and 1927
  11. Record of Chinese immigration, 1886 to 1927
  12. Record of Oriental immigration, 1901 to 1927
  13. Rejected immigrants upon arrival at ocean ports and deportation after admission, by principal causes and by nationalities, 1903 to 1937
  14. Returning Canadians and other non-immigrants entering Canada via ocean ports, by class of travel, fiscal years ended March 31, 1926 and 1927
  15. Sex and conjugal condition of immigrants to Canada, by age-group, fiscal year ended March 31, 1927
  16. Sex distribution of immigrants as adult males, adult females and children, fiscal years ended March 31, 1911 to 1927
  17. Total immigration to Canada, by ports of arrival, fiscal years ended March 31, 1922 to 1927


1937 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Births, deaths, and natural increase in Canada, by provinces and for each sex, 1935, with totals, 1931 to 1935 and averages 1936 to 1930 and 1931 to 1935
  2. British juvenile immigrants, fiscal years ended 1901 to 1936
  3. Canadians returned from the United States, calendar years 1924 to 1936
  4. Countries of birth of immigration, calendar years 1931 to 1935
  5. Deportations of immigrants after admission, by principal causes and by nationalities, fiscal years ended 1925 to 1936 with totals 1903 to 1924 and 1903 to 1936
  6. Destinations of immigrants into Canada, by provinces, calendar years 1929 to 1936
  7. Expenditures on immigration in the fiscal years ended June 30, 1868 to 1906 and March 31, 1907 to 1936
  8. Immigrants arriving in Canada, by chief ports of arrival, calendar years 1930 to 1935
  9. Languages of immigrants, ten years or older, calendar years 1931 to 1935
  10. Nationalities of immigrants, calendar years 1931 to 1935
  11. Natural increase in cities and towns of 10,000 population and over, 1931 to 1935, and averages, 1926 to 1930 and 1931 to 1935
  12. Numbers of immigrant arrivals in Canada from the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries, calendar years 1908 to 1936
  13. Numbers of immigrant arrivals in Canada, calendar years 1852 to 1936
  14. Numbers of passagers of British nationality changing their permanent residence between the United Kingdom and British North America, calendar years 1924 to 1935
  15. Occupations and destinations of immigrants arriving in Canada, classified by occupation and sex, according to destination, calendar year 1935
  16. Racial origins of immigrants into Canada, calendar years 1926 to 1935
  17. Record of oriental immigrants, calendar years 1929 to 1935
  18. Record of oriental immigrants, fiscal years ended 1901 to 1936
  19. Record of revenue receipts and registration for leave of Chinese immigrants, fiscal years ended March 31, 1912 to 1936 with totals 1886 to 1900 and 1901 to 1911
  20. Rejections of immigrants upon arrival at ocean ports, by principal causes and nationalities, calendar years 1930 to 1935
  21. Returning Canadians and other non-immigrants entering Canada via ocean ports, by class of travel, calendar years 1934 and 1935, with totals for calendar years 1930 to 1933
  22. Sex and conjugal conditions of immigrants into Canada, by age groups, calendar years 1934 and 1935
  23. Sex distribution of immigrants as adult males, adult females, and children, calendar years 1929 to 1935


1947 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Canadians returned from the United States, 1926 to 1946
  2. Deportations of immigrants, including accompanying persons, after admission, by principal causes and by nationalities, 1935 to 1946
  3. Destinations of immigrants into Canada, by provinces, 1935 to 1946
  4. Immigrant arrivals in Canada from the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries, 1921 to 1946
  5. Immigrant arrivals in Canada, 1892 to 1946
  6. Mother tongues of immigrants, 10 years of age or older, 1937 to 1946
  7. Nationalities of immigrants into Canada, 1942 to 1946
  8. Numbers and circulations of magazines and other publications, by type, 1945 and 1946
  9. Oriental immigration to Canada, 1906 to 1946
  10. Presumed permanent movement of population between Canada and the United States, years ended June 30, 1935 to 1946
  11. Racial origins of immigrants into Canada, 1942 to 1946
  12. Racial origins of the population, census years 1871 to 1941, with percentage distribution for 1941
  13. Rejections of prospective immigrants upon arrival at ocean ports, by principal causes and by nationalities, 1935 to 1946
  14. Returning Canadians and other non-immigrants entering Canada from Newfoundland, 1944 to 1946
  15. Sex and conjugal condition of immigrant arrivals, by age group, 1915 and 1946
  16. Sex distribution of immigrants as adult males, adult females and children, 1935 to 1946


1957 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Birthplaces of immigrant arrivals, 1954 to 1956
  2. Gender of immigrants as adult males, adult females and children, 1947 to 1956
  3. Immigrant admissions, by country of last permanent residence, 1952 to 1956
  4. Immigrant arrivals, 1912 to 1956
  5. Intended destination and occupation of immigrants admitted to Canada 1956
  6. Nationalities of immigrant arrivals, 1954 to 1956
  7. Origins of immigrant arrivals, 1954 to 1956
  8. People entering the United States from Canada, years ended June 30, 1947 to 1956
  9. Refusals and deportations by, cause and nationality 1954 to 1956
  10. Sex and marital status of immigrant arrivals, by age group, 1955 and 1958


1967 Canada Year Book - Related tables

  1. Distribution of the population, by ethnic group, census years 1941, 1951 and 1961