Italian Immigration to Canada
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Cultural Studies|
|✅ Wordcount: 2217 words||✅ Published: 8th Feb 2020|
Canada’s Southeast coast was discovered on June 24th, 1947 by an Italian explorer named John Cabot. John Cabot is the first influential Italian who contributed to Italians immigration to Canada. Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer. In May of 1497 Cabot set out West to explore what he thought was Asia. He sailed from Bristol, England to Eastern Canada. The landfall is unknown, but studies show that he could have landed in Newfoundland, Cape Breton Island or Southern Labrador in June of 1947. Cabot took possession of the land and named a few areas. He returned to Bristol and reported his findings. Cabot met his fate when he set out for his second voyage across the Atlantic. Cabot not only established the groundwork for British land claims in Canada, these expeditions proved a shorter route across the Northern Atlantic Ocean. This allowed the British Colony to facilitate their establishment in Canada. He was the first Italian, and among the first Europeans to have visited and settled in Canada.
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There was a mass migration of Italians to Canada between 1870-1970 as a part of the Italian Diaspora. Due to the poor Italian economy, many people immigrated to Canada in search for work and a new start. This migration lasted over a century with immigrants settling mostly in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Over 60,000 Italians immigrated to Canada between 1900 and 1930 for inexpensive labour with Canadian industries. Canada needed workers for construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway, bringing in thousands of Italians for seasonal labour. The majority of these labourers ended up settling in Canada, establishing many small Italian communities known as “Little Italy’s”. Approximately 40,000 Italians migrated to Canada during the interwar period from 1924-1947, due to economic depression. Canada’s economy started to decline in 1930 and the government implemented strict regulations on immigrants. Approximately 31,000 Italian Canadians were classified as “enemy aliens” under the War Measures Act. Between 1940-1943 over 600 Italian Canadians were arrested and sent to internment camps. Mussolini was the Fascist leader in Italy during this time; Canada feared Italians were potentially dangerous enemy aliens who supported fascism and Mussolini’s leadership. After the Second World War, in the late 1940s, the “enemy aliens” list was abolished.
As Italians continued to immigrate to Canada, they faced many difficulties and hardships adjusting Canadian’s lifestyle. In 1952, Italian Canadians established Italian Immigrant Aid Society to assist the immigration transition from Italy to Canada. By the 1960s, more than 15,000 Italian men were working in Toronto Construction industry.
Immigration has slowed down in the past century. According to the most resent census conducted by Stats Canada, the population of Italians by mother tongue in Canada is 375,640 as of 2016. This has dropped from 455,040 in 2006. Italy ranked 8th in the top 20 ethnic origins in Canada.
In 2011, 67% of Italian immigrants resided in Ontario. There was a population of 105,060 in Toronto, making Italians the fourth largest foreign-born group in the Greater Toronto Area. 22% resided in Quebec, 6% in British Columbia, and 3% in Alberta.
From 2006-2015 there were a total of 4,714 new Italian permanent residences in Canada. This number is continuously increasing each year. In 2006 there were 325 new permanent residences from Italy in Canada; in 2015 there were 831.
Selected places of birth for the Italian population in private households:
Toronto – 45,515
Canada – 236,640
Italian spoken most often at home for the total population excluding institutional residents:
Toronto – 27,130
Canada – 115,415
Total Mother Tongue for the Italian population excluding institutional residents:
Toronto – 62,640
Canada – 375,635
Canada has its own Italian Canadian Sports Federation. This is an Italian soccer federation that develops players, coaches, and referees. It was founded to bring together the Italian community through soccer. ICSF hosts an annual tournament with over 50 teams.
Football is Italy’s most popular sport. Italy won the world cup in 2016 and has one of the best soccer teams in World Cup history, winning a total of four cups. Italy has it’s own professional soccer league, Italian Serie A, and they host their own Italian football annual cup competition called Coppa Italia. Serie A has dominant teams who play in UEFA Champions League, including: Juventus F.C., Inter Milan, and S.S.C. Napoli.
Bicycling is another popular sport, with Italians winning more World Cycling Championships than any other country, aside from Belgium. They host the Giro d’Italia, which is one of the three Grand Tours held every May.
Italy has hosted the 1956 Winter Olympics, 1960 Summer Olympic, and most recently, the 2016 Winter Olympics in Torino.
Other popular sports include rugby, volleyball, and basketball. They are also well known for skiing, hiking, and swimming.
Italy is considered as a high-context culture. They emphasize their speech with physical cues and tend to be direct communicators; explanations aren’t needed as often as other cultures like the United States, where they tend to be low-context with specific, analytical, verbal communication. Italians tend to be bold and open with their emotions when communicating; they are eager to give their opinion and advice. Non-verbal cues include standing within close proximity during conversation. They are tactile and affectionate towards one another.
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Family is an extremely important value in Italian culture. They have many family gatherings and enjoy spending time with each other; this is generally the base of their social circles and networks. Parents tend to have a lot of authority on their children, maintaining their respect throughout their childhood. Italians have one of the highest percentages in Europe of children moving out at an older age. These families are very tight knit with deep connection and dedication towards each other. Parents raise and support their children as they grow up, and they expect to receive the same dedication and assistance from their children as they grow older.
Italians are well known for their cuisine and eating habits; many consider Italian cuisine an art. Italian cuisine has influenced the food culture around the world and is seen as a way of life. Family gatherings are centered around food and entertainment. Each geographical region uses different styles of cuisine. Meals generally consist of wine, cheese, and many different kinds of pasta.
Roman Catholicism is the major Italian religion. Italians celebrate most Christian holidays. They celebrate what’s called “Pasquetta” the Monday after Easter to mark the beginning of springtime. They also celebrate Saints day on November 1st, a religious holiday which family will visit and decorate the graves of loved ones who have passed away. Liberation Day is celebrated on April 25th, marking the end of World War II in Italy in 1945.
Italians have had an impact on Canada, from John Cabot discovering the Southeast coast of Canada and establishing an easy route across the Northern Atlantic Ocean, to Italian communities contributing to Canada’s diverse culture; popularizing Italian cuisine and increasing the fan base of European Football.
Today, Italians are successful in Canadian society. Contributing to our economic growth as strong business men, skilled professionals, innovators, and artists. Canadians must embrace the Italian culture as it flourishes in major cities such as Montreal and Toronto. Italians were an important asset to Canada’s growth and helped shaped the country we are today. Italian culture will live on forever in Canada.
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