Swedish Canadian

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Swedish Canadians
Svensk-kanadensare

Malin Åkerman Glenn Anderson

Hayden Christensen 05-2005.jpg M SaxellOnStage1.jpg ETalk2008-Pamela Wallin.jpg
Notable Swedish Canadians :
Malin Åkerman · Glenn Anderson · Hayden Christensen · Michael Saxell · Pamela Wallin
Total population
Swedish
341,845 (by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1]
1.1% of Canada's population
Regions with significant populations
Western Canada, Ontario
Languages
Canadian English and Swedish
Religion
Protestantism[2]
Related ethnic groups
Swedes, Swedish Americans, Swedish Britons, Scandinavians

The term Swedish Canadian (Swedish: Svenskkanadensare) refers to a Canadian citizen of Swedish descent or to a naturalized Canadian citizen hailing from Sweden. The 'Swedish Canadian' community in Canada is 330,000 strong.[3] The vast majority of them reside west of Lake Superior, primarily in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Toronto is the most popular settlement spot for newcomers.[citation needed] Despite having an influential presence and distinctive cultural bond, only 20,000 Canadian persons of Swedish descent speak Swedish.[citation needed]

Immigration history[edit]

A few Swedes trickled into Canada even before it became a country in 1867, but the first real wave of immigration began in the late 1890s and ended with the onset of the First World War in 1914. Included in this group were a significant number[quantify] of farmers who had settled first in the United States.

The first Swede, Jacob Fahlström, arrived in Canada in 1809, as an employee of the Hudson's Bay Company. He was succeeded in 1812 by another Swedish man, who was accompanied by two other men from Norway and Ireland to populate the Red River Colony in lower Manitoba. A much more substantive wave of Swedish settlers immigrated to Canada from the United States between 1868 and 1914, as land for farming became more and more scarce in America. Crop failures in their home country between 1866 and 1868 encouraged a similar exodus from Sweden.

The second and largest wave, which came during the 1920s, endured both the depression of the 1930s and the Second World War 1939–45. The third wave, although not as numerous, has been steady since the 1950s.

The immigrant pattern in Canada differs slightly from their counterpart in the United States. Whereas the majority of the earlier Swedish immigrants in America are from south-central Sweden, a significant portion of the Swedish immigrants in Canada are from the Stockholm region and Northern Sweden.[4]

As the economic situation improved after the Second World War, the overall emigration rate of Sweden slowed down considerably. Very much like recent Swedish emigrants found in other parts of the world, many of the newcomers are connected with Swedish companies, and do not intend to remain in the country permanently.

Spatial distribution[edit]

Most Swedes settled in western Canada, from northern Ontario to British Columbia. There were only a handful of strictly Swedish communities, the earliest being Scandinavia, Manitoba, in 1885 and Stockholm, Saskatchewan, in 1886. The Census of Canada shows that Swedish immigrants could be found scattered throughout every province and territory, with pockets in rural areas and in some towns and cities.

Winnipeg acted as the Swedish capital of Canada until the 1940s when Vancouver took over this title. A significant number[quantify] of Swedes live in Calgary and Edmonton and their environs, but the Toronto area is home to the largest concentration of newcomers, where it has one of the largest concentration of Swedish business in North America.[5]

More than 175 places' names in Canada are of Swedish origin,[6] which include Uppsala (Ontario), Stockholm (Saskatchewan) and Thorsby (Alberta).

Assimilation[edit]

Adapting to the ways of a new country is never easy, but most Swedes considered it a primary goal in order to achieve success.[citation needed] Early immigrants made every effort to master the English language[citation needed], at the same time supporting a fairly large number of Swedish-language newspapers, including two weeklies. The only Swedish magazine in North America today, the Swedish Press, is published in Vancouver, B.C. Recent immigrants who have learned English in Swedish schools do not have this problem.

Swedes are accustomed to four distinct seasons. Although Sweden is located quite far north (in the Western Hemisphere it would lie in the middle of Hudson Bay), the Gulf Stream modifies its climate dramatically. The reason so many Swedes settled on the prairies was not because the landscape was similar, but because land was available.

Notable Swedish Canadians[edit]

Noteworthy Canadians of Swedish origin include Senator Pamela Wallin, Judge Tom Berger who headed the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline inquiry, architect Arthur Erickson who designed Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto and the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., singer-songwriter and recording artist Michael Saxell, Harry Strom who was the premier of Alberta (1968–1971), naturalist Louise de Kiriline Lawrence who was the most prolific contributor to the Audubon, and Ralph Gustafson who won the Governor General's Award for poetry in 1974.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hale, Christopher S. "Swedes" in Paul Robert Magocsi, ed. Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples (1999), 1218–33

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Statistics Canada, Census 2006 – Selected Ethnic Origins1, for Canada, Provinces and Territories – 20% sample data
  2. ^ [2] (Statistics Canada, Census 2001 – Selected Demographic and Cultural Characteristics (105), Selected Ethnic Groups (100), Age Groups (6), Sex (3) and Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories and Census Metropolitan Areas 1 , 2001 Census – 20% sample data)
  3. ^ Statistics Canada - Swedes in Canada
  4. ^ http://www.multiculturalcanada.ca/Encyclopedia/A-Z/s13/2
  5. ^ Ruprecht, Tony. Toronto's Many Faces
  6. ^ http://www.swedesincanada.ca/facts.html

External links[edit]