Welsh Canadians

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Welsh Canadians
Canadiens gallois
Canadiaid Cymreig
Total population
458,705
(by ancestry, 2011 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada
Languages
Welsh, English, French
Religion
Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Welsh, Welsh Americans, Welsh Argentines

Welsh Canadians are Canadian citizens of Welsh descent or Wales-born people who reside in Canada.

According to the 2011 Census, 458,705 Canadians claimed full or partial Welsh descent.[2]

The Welsh in Canada[edit]

Welsh mapmaker David Thompson was one of the great explorers of the North West Company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and is often called "Canada's Greatest Geographer". He covered 130,000 kilometres on foot and surveyed most of the Canada–United States border in the early days of exploration.

One of the first efforts to encourage Welsh emigration to Canada began in 1812, when Welsh native John Mathews endeavoured to bring his family to Canada. Mathews left home at a young age and went on to become a successful businessman in the United States. When he returned to Wales, he found his family living in poverty and became convinced they should emigrate to Canada. In 1817 his family settled in the township of Southwald, near what is now London, Ontario. By 1812 he had brought over more relatives who built homes on the 100-acre (0.40 km2) lots granted to them by Colonel Thomas Talbot. The colony attracted 385 Welsh settlers by 1850 and retained its predominantly Welsh character until the late 1870s.

Early Welsh immigration to Canada was also spurred on by the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia in 1858. The development of underground mining provided employment for many Welsh coal miners who decided to remain in the area.

In 1902, Welsh immigrants arrived from Patagonia, which had been incorporated into Argentina in 1881. Compulsory military service and a series of floods that ruined Welsh farmers' crops led to some emigrants resettling at Llewelyn near Bangor, Saskatchewan, where they once again took up farming. A community of Welsh farmers was also established at Wood River near Ponoka, Alberta.

Welsh in Alberta[edit]

In a 2001 census, Alberta had the highest number of people of Welsh descent with about 60,000.[3]

  • Earl W. Bascom (1906-1995), artist, inventor, rodeo pioneer, "Father of Modern Rodeo" and of Welsh descent
  • David Milwyn Duggan, a Welshman, was the mayor of Edmonton from 1921 to 1923.

Welsh culture in Canada[edit]

Welsh festivals in Canada today include Eisteddfodau, and Gymanfa Ganu. The Welsh in Canada celebrate St. David's Day, the celebrations include storytelling and singing; banquets are also held in Lethbridge, Ponoka, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Regina, and Fort McMurray.

A newsletter serves the Welsh communities in Calgary and Lethbridge, while in Edmonton the St. David's Society issues a bulletin twice a year informing its members about upcoming events. Some Welsh Canadians subscribe to Ninnau, the Welsh national newspaper published in New York.

Welsh-Canadians have been active in the country's cultural life, supplying Canada with some of its more lively characters including novelist Robertson Davies, Powys Thomas, co-founder of the national theatre school, and Robert Harris, painter of the Fathers of Confederation.

Welsh language in Canada[edit]

In Alberta, there are Welsh language seminars in person and online.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]