Romanian Canadians | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Romanian Canadians

Romania is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova and the Black Sea. The 2016 census reported 235, 050 people of Romanian origin in Canada (96, 910 single and 141, 145 multiple responses).

Migration and Settlement

Many Romanians, particularly from the provinces of Bukovina and Transylvania, immigrated to Canada in the late 19th century, although they had been preceded by individual priests from Bucharest sent to the early settlements of Canada. At that time, Romania was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Most of the early immigrants were peasants motivated by a desire to escape living under a foreign government, to own land, and to improve their general economic conditions. By 1895 Romanians were arriving by the thousands. In 1914 there were 8301 Romanians in Canada; in 1921 the number was 13, 470. It is important to note, however, that these figures are tentative, since many emigrated from regions which were not part of Romania until 1918, and others came from Hungary, Austria and Russia.

Early Romanian settlements were founded at Regina, Limerick, Dysart, Kayville, Flintoft and Canora (Saskatchewan); Inglis (Manitoba); and Boian (Alberta). Because French has traditionally been the second language of Romania, many Romanians were also attracted to Quebec, where they established themselves in Montreal. Between 1921 and 1929, many new immigrants arrived to join relatives and friends, so by 1931 there were some 29 000 Romanian Canadians. After the Second World War (WWII) a significant number of Romanians immigrated to Canada, mainly professionals who settled in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, London and Windsor. The 2016 census reported 235, 050 people of Romanian origin in Canada. Of these, the majority live in the provinces of Ontario (98, 235), Quebec (53, 060), Alberta (34, 225) and British Columbia (31, 250). At present, Toronto has the largest Romanian community in the country (50, 520 people).

Saint Nicholas Romanian Orthodox Church in Regina, Saskatchewan

Built in 1901 or 1902, it was the first Romanian Orthodox Parish in North America.

Social Life and Community

Most Romanians belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church.The first such church in North America was the Church of St Nicholas, built in Regina in 1901 or 1902. Many parishes are attached to a youth group which is a branch of American Romanian Orthodox youth. Mutual benefit and cultural organizations have existed in most communities and many were established as part of an American organization called the Union and League of Romanian Societies of America. Two Romanian-language newspapers were published in Canada: Ecouri Romanesti (Romanian Echoes, 1974-1984) and Curantul Romanesc (The Romanian Voice). In the 2016 census, 100, 615 people reported Romanian as their mother tongue (first language learned). This represents 0.3 per cent of the total Canadian population. 

(See also Bianca Andreescu). 

Further Reading

External Links