European Canadians

European Canadians (French: les Canadiens Européens), also known as Euro-Canadians, are Canadians with ancestry from Europe.[3][4][5] They form the largest panethnic group within Canada.

The French were the first Europeans to establish a continuous presence in what is now Canada. Hélène Desportes is considered the first white child born in New France. She was born circa 1620, to Pierre Desportes (born Lisieux, Normandie, France) and Françoise Langlois.[6]

In the 2016 census, the largest European ancestry groups originated from the British Isles (11,211,850 including 6,320,085 English, 4,799,005 Scottish and 4,627,000 Irish), French (4,680,820), German (3,322,405), Italian (1,587,965).[1] However, the country's largest self-reported ethnic origin is "Canadian" (accounting for 11,135,965 of the population). Since 1996, "Canadian" as an ethnic group has been added to census questionnaires for possible ancestry, which likely caused English Canadians, British Canadians and French Canadians to become severely underrepresented. The grouping is similar to that of "American" in neighbouring United States and is most commonly espoused by European Canadians whose ancestors have been some of the earliest European settlers of what is now Canada, to the point where they no longer feel a connection to their countries of origin.[7] In the 2011 National Household Survey Profile, 10,563,805 people (32.1%) chose "Canadian" as their ethnic group, making it the single largest group in the country.[8]

European Canadians
Total population
53% of the total Canadian population[1][2] (2016 Census)
Regions with significant populations
All areas of Canada
less prevelant in the North
Predominantly English • French
Historically Scottish Gaelic • Irish were spoken in certain regions
Predominantly Christianity (Protestantism and Roman Catholicism)
Related ethnic groups
European diaspora, Europeans, European Americans, European Australians, European New Zealanders, British (English, Scottish, Welsh, Ulster-Scots), Irish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Ukrainian, Polish, Portuguese

An additional 11,135,965 people chose "Canadian" as their ethnic group in the Census.[1]

Number of European Canadians

Year Population % of Canada Ref(s) Year Population % of Canada Ref(s)
1871 3,433,315 98.5%1 [9][10][11] 1971 20,763,915 96.3% [9][10]
1881 4,146,900 95.9%1 [9][11] 1981 22,402,000 93.0% [12]
1901 5,170,522 96.0%1 [9][11] 1991 - -
1911 7,005,583 94.35%1 [9][11] 1996 - -
1921 8,568,584 96.0%1 [9][11] 2001 - -
1931 10,134,313 97.7% [9][11] 2011 20,157,965 61.4% [13]
1941 11,242,868 97.8% [9][10] 2016 19,683,320 53.0% [14]
1951 13,582,574 96.83% [9][10]
1961 17,653,864 96.8% [9][10]
1966 - 96.8% [9][10]
^1 Census of 1871, 1881, 1901, 1911, 1921.[15]

The table shows the European-Canadian population showing a gradual increase from the 1871 Census, however, their proportion of the total Canadian population has been decreasing gradually since the mid-twentieth century to the most recent census in 2016. Canada enumerated its population by race between 1871 and 1971 and ethnic origins.


European Canadians are still the largest ethnic group in Canada. Elements of Aboriginal, French, British and more recent immigrant customs, languages and religions have combined to form the culture of Canada and thus a Canadian identity. Canada has also been strongly influenced by its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States.

The top ten cities as per population of European Canadians (not members of a visible minority and no Aboriginal status) are as follows (2016 Census):

  1. Toronto 1,282,750
  2. Montreal 1,082,615
  3. Calgary 744,625
  4. Ottawa 652,650
  5. Edmonton 524,265
  6. Quebec City 475,720
  7. Hamilton 415,740
  8. Winnipeg 412,645
  9. Halifax 336,375
  10. Mississauga 302,375

The top ten such Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) are as follows:

  1. Montreal 3,070,210
  2. Toronto 2,804,630
  3. Vancouver 1,179,100
  4. Ottawa - Gatineau 981,630
  5. Calgary 869,555
  6. Edmonton 857,085
  7. Quebec City 729,310
  8. Hamilton 590,310
  9. Winnipeg 473,360
  10. Kitchener - Cambridge - Waterloo 407,460


European Canadians celebrating Canada Day.

The culture of the Canadians of European descent, European-Canadian culture, is the main culture of Canada. From their earliest presence in North America, European Canadians have contributed literature, art, architecture, cinema and theater, religion and philosophy, ethics, agricultural skills, foods, medicine, science and technology, fashion and clothing styles, music, language, business, economics, legal system, political system, and social and technological innovation to Canadian culture. European-Canadian culture derived its earliest influences from English, French, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish settlers and is quantitatively the largest proportion of Canadian culture. The overall Canadian culture reflects European-Canadian culture, also known as White Canadian culture. The culture has been developing since long before Canada formed a separate country. Much of Canadian culture shows influences from English culture. Colonial ties to Great Britain spread the English language, legal system and other cultural attributes.

Canadian flag

Ruth & George Stanley
George Stanley designer of the current Canadian flag.


Another area of cultural influence are Canadian Patriotic songs:


  • Ice Hockey - British soldiers and immigrants to Canada and the United States brought their stick-and-ball games with them and played them on the ice and snow of winter. Ice hockey was first played in Canada during the early nineteenth century, based on similar sports such as field hockey that were played in Europe.[22] The sport was originally played with a stick and ball, but in 1860 a group of English veterans from the Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment played a game in Kingston, Ontario, utilising a puck for what is believed to be the first time. This match, played on the frozen harbour by the city, is sometimes considered to be the birth of modern ice hockey.[23]

European ethnic origins table

Origins 18711 % 19513 % 2006 % 20114 % Change 2006-2011
Albania Albanian - - - - 22,395 - 28,270 - -
Austria Austrian - - 32,231 - 194,255 - 197,990 - -
Belgium Belgian - - 35,148 - 168,910 - 176,615 - -
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnian - - - - 21,045 22,920
United Kingdom British Isles - - - - 403,915 576,030
United Kingdom Other British 7,773 0.2% 92,236
Bulgaria Bulgarian - - - - 27,255 30,485
Canada Canadian - - - - 10,066,290 32.22% 10,563,805 32.1%
Croatia Croatian - - - - 110,880 114,880
Czech Republic Czech - - - - 98,090 94,805
Czechoslovakia Czech and Slovak - - 63,959
Denmark Danish - - 42,671 200,035 203,080
Netherlands Dutch 29,662 0.85% 264,267 1,035,965 3.32% 1,067,245 3.2%
England English 706,369 20.3% 3,630,344 25.9% 6,570,015 21.03% 6,509,500 19.8%
Estonia Estonian - - - - 23,930 23,180
Finland Finnish - - 43,745 131,040 236,215
France French
(incl. Acadian)
1,082,940 31.07% 4,319,167 30.83% 4,941,210 15.82% 5,077,215 15.4%
Germany German 202,991 5.82% 619,995 3,179,425 10.18% 3,203,330 9.7%
Greece Greek 39 0.0% 13,966 242,685 252,960
Hungary Hungarian - - 60,460 315,510 316,765
Iceland Icelandic - - 23,307 88,875 94,205
Republic of Ireland Irish 846,414 24.3% 1,439,635 4,354,155 13.94% 4,544,870 13.8%
Italy Italian 1,035 0.03% 152,245 1,445,335 4.63% 1,488,425 4.5%
Latvia Latvian - - - - 27,870 27,355
Liechtenstein Liechtensteiner - - - -
Lithuania Lithuanian - - 16,224 46,690 49,130
Luxembourg Luxembourger - - - - 3,160 3,790
Republic of Macedonia Macedonian - - - - 37,055 36,985
Malta Maltese - - - - 37,120 38,780
Moldova Moldovan - - - - 8,050
Monaco Monégasque - - - -
Montenegro Montenegrin - - - - 2,370 2,970
Norway Norwegian - - 119,266 432,515 452,705
Poland Polish - - 219,845 984,565 3.15% 1,010,705
Portugal Portuguese - - - - 410,850 1.25% 429,850 1.28%
Romania Romanian - - 23,601 192,170 204,625
Russia Russian 607 0.02% 91,279 500,600 1.60% 550,520
Scandinavian2 1,623 0.0% - - - - - - -
Scotland Scottish 549,946 15.8% 1,547,470 4,719,850 15.11% 4,714,970 14.3%
Serbia Serbian - - - - 72,690 80,320
Slovakia Slovak - - - - 64,145 66,545
Slovenia Slovene - - - - 35,935 37,170
San Marino Sammarinese - - - -
Spain Spanish - - - - 325,730 1.04% 368,305
Sweden Swedish - - 97,780 334,765 1.07% 341,845
Switzerland Swiss 2,962 0.1% 137,775 146,830
Ukraine Ukrainian - - 395,043 1,209,085 3.87% 1,251,170 3.8%
Wales Welsh 440,965 1.41% 458,705
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslav - - 21,404 65,305 48,320
Europe Other European 3,791 0.0% 35,616 35,795 48,760
United Kingdom Total British 2,110,502 60.6% 6,709,685 47.89%
Canada Canada 3,433,315 98.49% 13,582,574 96.83% 20,157,9654 N/A
^1 First census of the Canadian federation.[15] The figures for 1871 are for the four original provinces only.
^2 Includes Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish.^3 Canada 1951 Census[24][25]2006 Canada Census[26]
^4 Canada 2011 Census National Household Survey: Data tables[27] An extra 32% or 10,563,805 people identified as "Canadian" as their ethnic group, many
are of European origins.

Prime Ministers

Most of the heritage that all twenty-three Canadian Prime Ministers come from (or in some combination thereof): is British (English, Scottish, Ulster Scot or Welsh) ancestry. Later Canadian Prime Ministers' ancestry can often be traced to ancestors from multiple nations in Europe.

1st John A. Macdonald (Scottish)
2nd Alexander Mackenzie (Scottish)
3rd John Abbott (English)
4th John Thompson (Irish)
5th Mackenzie Bowell (English)
6th Charles Tupper (English)
7th Wilfrid Laurier (French)
8th Robert Borden (English)
9th Arthur Meighen (Scotch-Irish)
10th William Lyon Mackenzie King (Scottish)
11th R. B. Bennett (English, Irish)
12th Louis St. Laurent (French, Irish)
13th John Diefenbaker (German, Scottish)
14th Lester B. Pearson (Anglo-Irish)
15th Pierre Trudeau (French, Scottish)
16th Joe Clark (English)
17th John Turner (English)
18th Brian Mulroney (Irish)
19th Kim Campbell (Scottish)
20th Jean Chrétien (French)
21st Paul Martin (Irish, French, Scottish)
22nd Stephen Harper (English)
23rd Justin Trudeau (French, Scottish, English, Dutch, Anglo-Irish)

See also


  1. ^ a b c Census Profile, 2016 Census - Ethnic origin population
  2. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2018.
  3. ^ Euro-Canadian definition
  4. ^ Kappler, Maija. "Eye-Opening Show, 'First Contact,' Tackles White Canadians' Racism Toward Indigenous People". Huffington Post. Example of White Canadian being used
  5. ^ Menzies, Charles (1994). "Stories from Home: First Nations, Land Claims, and Euro-Canadians". American Ethnologist. American Anthropological Association. 21 (4): 776–791. doi:10.1525/ae.1994.21.4.02a00060. JSTOR 646839. Example of Euro-Canadian being used
  6. ^ Bennett, Ethel M. G. (1979) [1966]. "Desportes, Hélène". In Brown, George Williams (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  7. ^ The Changing Face of Canada: Essential Readings in Population
  8. ^ "National Household Survey Profile". Statistics Canada. 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ethnic origins Census of Canada (Page: 17)
  10. ^ a b c d e f Table 1: Population by Ethnic Origin, Canada, 1921-1971 Page: 2
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Canada Year Book 1922-23: Racial Origin" (PDF). Census and Statistics Office of Canada. 1921. pp. 158–59.
  12. ^ Nationalism and National Integration By Anthony H. Birch (Page: 169)
  13. ^ "National Household Survey Profile". Statistics Canada. 2011. A total of 20,157,965 indicated "European Origins".
  14. ^ Census Profile, 2016 Census - Ethnic origin population "National Household Survey Profile".] Statistics Canada. 2016. A total of 19,683,320 indicated "European Origins".
  15. ^ a b CANADA - ORIGINS OF THE PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THE CENSUSES OF 1871, 1881, 1901, 1911 AND 1921. (Page: 134-135)
  16. ^ Foot, Richard (February 13, 2014). "The Stanley Flag". The Canadian Encyclopedia (online ed.). Historica Canada.
  17. ^ McIntosh, Andrew (March 26, 2012). "O Canada". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Hymne national du Canada". Canadian Heritage. Government of Canada. June 23, 2008. Retrieved June 26, 2008.
  19. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage. "Canadian Heritage – National Anthem: O Canada". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  20. ^ "Marches". L'Association Canadienne De L'Infanterie/Canadian Infantry Association. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012.
  21. ^ "Canadian Heritage – Patriotic Songs". March 3, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2011.
  22. ^ "Ice Hockey Equipment and History". The Olympic Movement. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  23. ^ "About Ice Hockey". Ice Hockey UK. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  24. ^ Multiculturalism and Immigration in Canada: An Introductory Reader By Elspeth Cameron (Page: 73-73)
  25. ^ Statistics Canada Distribution of the population, by ethnic group, census years 1941, 1951 and 1961
  26. ^ "Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada - Data table". October 6, 2010. Retrieved January 28, 2011.
  27. ^ 2011 National Household Survey: Data tables

Further reading


Belgian Canadians

Belgian Canadians (French: Canadiens belges) are Canadian citizens of Belgian ancestry or Belgium-born people who reside in Canada. According to the 2011 Census there were 176,615 Canadians who claimed full or partial Belgian ancestry.

Captives in American Indian Wars

Treatment applied to European captives taken in wars or raids in the present-day United States and Canada varied according to the culture of each tribe. Before the arrival of Europeans, Native American and First Nation peoples all across the US and Canada had developed customs for dealing with captives. Depending on the cultural region, captives could be killed, kept alive and assimilated into the tribe, or enslaved. When Native American and the First Nations peoples came into contact with European settlers, they applied longstanding customary traditions for dealing with Native captives to the European newcomers. American and Canadian histories, particularly in the colonial period, includes many examples of captives, and their associated treatment; the American Indian Wars and migrations of the 19th century also resulted in many captives being taken.

Captivity narratives were often written by European Americans and European Canadians who were ransomed or escaped from captivity.

Croatian Canadians

Croatian Canadians are Canadian citizens who are of Croatian descent. The community exists in major cities including the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Windsor, and Montreal.

Popular events celebrated in the Croatian-Canadian community include the Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival (held in eastern and western Canada) and the Croatian-North American Soccer Tournament.

Czech Canadians

Czech Canadians are Canadian citizens of Czech ancestry or Czech Republic-born people who reside in Canada. It also includes people descended from, the territory of the historic Czech lands, constituting the Kingdom of Bohemia (consisting of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia), or successor states, now known as the Czech Republic the Czechs' nation state. In the 19th century, they were frequently called Bohemians. According to the 2006 Canadian census, there were 98,090 Canadians of full or partial Czech descent.

Dutch Canadians

Dutch Canadians are any Canadian citizens of Dutch ancestry. According to the Canada 2006 Census, there are 1,035,965 Canadians of Dutch descent, including those of full or partial ancestry.

Hungarian Canadians

Hungarian Canadians (Hungarian: Kanadai magyarok) are persons in Canada of Hungarian ancestry. According to the Canada 2011 Census, there are 316,765 Canadians of Hungarian ancestry. The Hungarian minority is the 23rd largest ethnic group of Canada. The bulk of Hungarian immigration occurred after World War II, with the wave peaking after the 1956 Hungarian revolution against communist rule, when over 100,000 Hungarian refugees went to Canada. The Hungarian-Canadian community is among the country's multiple ethnicities; Canada is one of the top five countries of the Hungarian diaspora.

Luxembourgian Canadians

Luxembourgian Canadians are Canadian citizens of Luxembourger descent or Luxembourg-born people who reside in Canada. According to the 2011 Census there were 3,790 Canadians who claimed full or partial Luxembourgian ancestry.Luxembourgian immigration to Canada has not been as significant as those from other parts of Europe but there is a considerable community from Luxembourg in Canada. Despite this, the North American country is home to one of the largest Luxembourgian communities in the world and the fourth largest in the Americas, only behind the United States, Brazil and Argentina.

Montenegrin Canadians

Montenegrin Canadians (Montenegrin: Kanadski Crnogorci) are Canadian citizens of Montenegrin descent or Montenegro-born people who reside in Canada. According to the 2011 Census, 2,970 Canadians claimed full or partial Montenegrin ancestry, compared to 2,370 in 2006.

Old Stock Canadians

Old Stock Canadians is a term referring to European Canadians whose family has lived in Canada for several generations. It is used by some to refer exclusively to anglophone Canadians with British immigrant ancestors, but it usually refers to either anglophone or francophone Canadians as parallel old stock groups. Francophone Canadians descended from early French immigrants in New France (prior to the loss of Quebec to the British in 1763) are sometimes referred to as Québécois Pure laine, often translated as "dyed in the wool", but with the same connotation as old stock.


Parkwoods or sometimes referred to as Parkwoods-Donalda, is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is a geographically large neighbourhood located just south of Ontario Highway 401, West of Victoria Park Avenue, North of Lawrence Avenue East and east of the Don Valley Parkway.

Port Essington, British Columbia

Port Essington was a cannery town on the south bank of the Skeena River estuary in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, between Prince Rupert and Terrace, and at the confluence of the Skeena and Ecstall Rivers. It was founded in 1871 by Robert Cunningham and Thomas Hankin (father of the interpreter Constance Cox) and was for a time the largest settlement in the region. During its heyday it was home to an ethnic mix of European-Canadians, Japanese-Canadians, and members of First Nations from throughout the region, especially Tsimshians from the Kitselas and Kitsumkalum tribes. In the Tsimshian language, the site of Port Essington is called Spaksuut or, in English spelling, "Spokeshute", which means "autumn camping place". This also became the Tsimshian name for the town of Port Essington, and was conferred on Spokeshute Mountain, which stands above and behind the community. It sits on the traditional territory of the Gitzaxłaał tribe, one of the nine Tsimshian tribes based at Lax Kw'alaams. In 1888, the anthropologist Franz Boas visited Port Essington, interviewing Haida and Tsimshian individuals and establishing a working relationship with Odille Morison, the Tsimshian linguist, who lived in Port Essington.

Portuguese Canadians

Portuguese Canadians (Portuguese: luso-canadianos) are Canadian citizens of full or partial Portuguese heritage or people who migrated from Portugal and reside in Canada. According to the 2011 Census, there were 429,850 Canadians who claimed full or partial Portuguese ancestry, an increase compared to 410,850 in 2006 (1.3% of the nation's total population). Most Portuguese Canadians live in Ontario - 282,865 (69%), followed by Quebec 57,445 (14%) and British Columbia 34,660 (8%).As with other European Canadians, some Portuguese surnames have been changed to align with more Canadian sounding names, for example Rodrigues to Rogers, Oliveira to Oliver, Martins to Martin, Silva to Silver, Carneiro to Carney, Pereira to Perry, Madeira to Wood and Morais to Morris.

Russell, Manitoba

Russell is an unincorporated urban community in the Municipality of Russell – Binscarth within the Canadian province of Manitoba that held town status prior to January 1, 2015 when it and the nearby Village of Binscarth amalgamated with the Rural Municipality of Russell. It is located along PTH 16 and PTH 83, and is at the western terminus of PTH 45. Russell is approximately 15 km (9 mi) from the Saskatchewan border and 340 km (211 mi) northwest of Winnipeg. The community is home to 1,611 people (2011 census).

Russell is the home of Manitoba's Beef and Barley Festival, which is held annually in October to celebrate the region's strong agricultural tradition. Grain farming and cattle ranching are extensive in the surrounding areas.

Russian Canadians

Russian Canadians comprise Canadian citizens of Russian heritage or Russians who emigrated to and reside in Canada. According to the 2011 Census, there were 550,520 Canadians who claimed full or partial Russian ancestry.

Scandinavian Canadians

Scandinavian Canadians are Canadian citizens with ancestral roots in Scandinavia. They generally include:

Danish Canadians

Faroese Canadians

Greenlandic Canadians

Finnish Canadians

Icelandic Canadians

Norwegian Canadians

Sami Canadians

Swedish CanadiansThe highest concentration of Scandinavian Canadians is in Western Canada, especially British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

There are nearly 1.2 million Canadians of Scandinavian descent, or 4% of the total population of the country.

South Asian Canadians

South Asian Canadians are Canadians who were either born in or can trace their ancestry to South Asia, which includes nations such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. The term South Asian Canadian is a subgroup of Asian Canadian and, according to Statistics Canada, can further be divided by nationality, such as Indo-Canadian, Bangladeshi Canadian and Pakistani Canadian. South Asians are the second largest pan-ethnic group in Canada after European-Canadians.

As of 2016, 1,963,330 Canadians had South Asian geographical origins, constituting 5.6% of the Canadian population and 32% of Canada's Asian Canadian population. This makes them the largest visible minority group in Canada comprising 25.6% of the visible minority population, followed by East Asian and Black Canadians respectively. The largest communities from South Asia are found in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Metropolitan areas with large communities from South Asia include Toronto (995,125), Vancouver (291,005), Calgary (122,515), Montréal (90,815) and Edmonton (91,595).67% percent of South Asian-Canadians in Canada live in Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto as of 2016; together they make up nearly 30% of the combined populations of the cities.

Swedish Canadians

Swedish Canadians (Swedish: Svenskkanadensare) are Canadian citizens of Swedish ancestry or Swedes who emigrated to and reside in Canada. The Swedish Canadian community in Canada numbers 330,000. 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. Despite having an influential presence and distinctive cultural bond, only 14,000 Canadian persons of Swedish descent speak Swedish.

Ukrainian Americans

Ukrainian Americans (Ukrainian: Українські американці, romanized: Ukrayins'ki amerykantsi) are Americans who are of Ukrainian ancestry. According to U.S. census estimates, in 2006 there were 961,113 Americans of Ukrainian descent representing 0.33% of the American population. The Ukrainian population of the United States is thus the second largest outside the former Eastern Bloc; only Canada has a larger Ukrainian community under this definition. According to the 2000 U.S. census, the metropolitan areas with the largest numbers of Ukrainian Americans are: New York City with 160,000; Philadelphia with 60,000; Chicago with 46,000; Los Angeles with 34,000; Detroit with 33,000; Cleveland with 26,000; and Indianapolis with 19,000.

Wakashan languages

Wakashan is a family of languages spoken in British Columbia around and on Vancouver Island, and in the northwestern corner of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state, on the south side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

As is typical of the Northwest Coast, Wakashan languages have large consonant inventories—the consonants often occurring in complex clusters.

Canadian people
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