Canadians of Welsh descent

Canadians of Welsh descent

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Welsh Canadian

poptime = 440,965
1.4% of the Canadian Population
popplace = Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada
langs = Welsh, English
rels = Protestant, Catholic
related = Welsh, Welsh Americans

Today about 440,965 Canadians identify themselves as having some Welsh descent, with 27,115 of these identifying as exclusively Welsh. [ [ Population by selected ethnic origins, by province and territory (2006 Census)] : Statistics Canada. Retrieved 10 August 2008.]

The Welsh in Canada

The first Welshman to arrive in Canada is believed to have been Sir Thomas Button, who led an expedition to find the Northwest Passage in 1612.Fact|date=February 2007 Other early Welsh in Canada came after the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and following the aftermath of the American Revolution (1775-1783).Fact|date=February 2007 Welsh mapmaker David Thompson was one of the great explorers of the North West Company in the late 1700s and early 1800s, 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 convert|100|acre|km2|sing=on 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 the resettlements of the emigrants in 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

In a 2001 census, Alberta had the highest number of people of Welsh descent with about 60,000. [ [ Population by selected ethnic origins, by province and territory (2001 Census) ] ]

Many Welsh people came to Alberta at the turn of the century. Most came from the mining and industrial regions of Wales to work in the coal mines around Edmonton,Fact|date=February 2007 where they soon became active in the trade union movement.Fact|date=February 2007 David Milwyn Duggan, a Welshman, was the mayor of Edmonton from 1921 to 1923.

Today the Welsh community in Alberta is served by three main organizations: The Calgary Welsh Society, [ St. David's Welsh Society of Edmonton] and the Ponoka Welsh Society. These associations function primarily as social clubs, featuring lectures, films and dinner meetings on a regular basis.Fact|date=February 2007 The St. David's Welsh Society of Edmonton is a regular participant in the city's Heritage Days event, and in 2005 the group will celebrate its centennial anniversary.Fact|date=February 2007 Welsh people are famous worldwide for music and song, and choirs are often a part of Welsh community associations. This stems from the bardic tradition in Wales. The [ St. David's Welsh Male Voice Choir of Edmonton] has existed for over 100 years and performs several times throughout the year.Fact|date=February 2007

Welsh Culture in Canada

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 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

In Alberta, it is easy to find Welsh language seminars in-person and online and attempts to teach the Welsh language are being made across the country.

ee also

*Welsh (ethnicity)
*Welsh American


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