Lebanese Canadians are Canadian nationals of Lebanese origin. According to the 2011 Census there were 190,275 Canadians who claimed Lebanese ancestry, having an increase compared to those in the 2006 Census, making them by far the largest group of people with Arabic-speaking roots.
Lebanese immigration began in 1882. Because of situations within Lebanon and restrictive Canadian laws these immigrants were 90% Christian. These immigrants were mostly economic migrants seeking greater prosperity in the New World.
In more recent years this pattern has changed, and large numbers of Lebanese Muslims and Druze have come to Canada. Immigration laws were liberalized after the Second World War, and immigration steadily increased in the 1950s and 1960s.
The greatest influx of Lebanese was during the Lebanese Civil War, and this period saw a number of Lebanon's wealthiest and best educated move to Canada to flee the violence in their homeland. Canada was the only western country (besides Australia) to set up special programs to enable Lebanese to more easily come to Canada and it set up an office in Cyprus to process Lebanese refugees.
Many Lebanese speak French and unlike most other immigrant groups preferred to settle in francophoneMontreal than anglophoneToronto and Vancouver. About half the Lebanese-Canadian community is located in and around Montreal, and most Lebanese-Canadian organizations, especially religious ones, are based in that city.
When it comes to their share of the overall population, Lebanese people account for a larger share of the population of Ottawa than that of any other census metropolitan area across the country where they make up over 2% of the total population of the National Capital Region. At the same time, people of Lebanese origin also made up more than 1% of the total populations of both Montreal and Halifax, while the figure was close to 1% in both Calgary and Edmonton. In Toronto, people of Lebanese origin made up less than a half a per cent of the total population. There are also substantial Lebanese populations in Vancouver, Windsor, London, Edmonton, Fredericton and Charlottetown.
Media reported that as many as 50,000 of Lebanese-Canadians were in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, with about half this number permanently residing there. During 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict the large number of Canadians led rise to a major effort to evacuate them from the war zone. It also led some pundits to accuse some of those holding Canadian citizenship of being Canadians of convenience.