Canadians of German ethnicity

Canadians of German ethnicity

Infobox Ethnic group
group = Canadians of German ethnicity

poptime = 3,179,425
10.2% of the Canadian Population
popplace = Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada, Quebec
langs = English, French, German
rels = Protestant, Roman Catholic
related = German, German Americans

The 2006 Canadian census put the number of Canadians of German ethnicity at 3,179,425. Only a small fraction of German Canadians are descendants of immigrants from what is today Germany. Fact|date=March 2008Far more have come from German populations in Eastern Europe and Russia with significant numberquantify|date=August 2008 of Germans coming from Switzerland and the Low Countries; some have also come from Austria. Another largequantify|date=August 2008 group was those of German descent who came to Canada after spending a significant amount of timequantify|date=August 2008 in the United States.

A few Germans came to New France and mixed with the French-Canadians. However, the first major round of German immigration to Canada began after the British conquest of Nova Scotia. Many Germans had served in the British army and elected to settle in the new lands. Far more arrived as some of the Foreign Protestants. These were continental Protestants encouraged to come to Nova Scotia to counter balance the large number of Catholic Acadians. This influx began in about 1750 and to this day the South Shore of Nova Scotia is filled with German town names, surnames, and Lutheran churches.

The American Revolution saw an even larger group of German migrants to Canada. Those of German descent made up a significant percentagequantify|date=August 2008 of United Empire Loyalists. To defeat the revolution, and later to defend British North America from it, the British used large numbers of German mercenaries. Many of them chose to settle in Canada once their terms of service expired. Several German mercenaries from the Brunswick regiment settled in Quebec, southwest of Montreal and south of Quebec City.

The largest group fleeing the United States were the Mennonites whose pacifism was discriminated against in the new United States. They moved to what is today southwest Ontario, settling around Berlin, Ontario (now known as Kitchener and Waterloo). This large group also attracted new migrants from Germany drawing some 50,000 of them to the region over the next decades.

The population of the Canadian west beginning in 1896 drew further large numbers of German immigrants, mostly from Eastern Europe. Once again Mennonites were especially prominent being persecuted by the Tsarist regime in Russia. The farmers, used to the harsh conditions of farming in Russia, were some of the most successful in adapting to the Canadian prairies. This accelerated when, in the 1920s, the United States imposed quotas on Eastern European immigration. Soon after Canada imposed its own limits, however, and prevented most of those trying to flee the Third Reich from moving to Canada. Many of these Mennonites settled in the Winnipeg and Steinbach, Manitoba area.

In the years since the Second World War there have been about 400,000 German speaking immigrants.

While Germans are one of the largest constituent ethnic groups in Canada, they are considerably less visible than others. In part this is because the great waves of German immigration were many decades ago and since then Germans have been largely assimilated. Culturally, linguistically, and physically, there is far less to distinguish Germans from the Anglo-French majority compared to other immigrant groups. Also important is that during both the world wars the Germans were regarded as enemies. Many Canadians attempted to hide their German ancestry, some ceasing to speak German, and some even changing their surnames. Some German place names were renamed, such as that of Berlin to Kitchener, Ontario.

Where They Live

The 5 areas in Canada where they mostly live are Toronto: 220,135, Vancouver: 187,410, Winnipeg: 109,355, Kitchener: 93,325, and Montreal: 83,850.

There are also several German ethnic block settlements in western Canada, especially around Regina, Saskatchewan.

Prominent German-Canadians

*Rosalie Abella, current Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
*Randy Bachmann, rock musician
*Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba
*John Diefenbaker, Prime Minister
*Gerhard Herzberg, scientist
*John Kay, musician
*Almuth Lütkenhaus, sculptor
*Milt Schmidt, hockey player
*Miriam Toews, Governor General's Award-winning writer
*Vic Toews, current President of the Treasury Board of Canada
*Ralph Klein, former Progressive Conservative Premier of Alberta
*Howie Morenz, hockey player
*Woody Dumart, hockey player

In sports

In the early 1980s, German ice hockey started a recruitment drive in Canada, aimed at Canadian ice hockey players of German ancestry. The term "Deutsch-Kanadier" became synonymous in Germany with those players. Their contribution added largely to the improvement of the sport and the national team in Germany. Critics however also blame those players for a reduction in the number of German born players to play at elite level. Some of them, like Harold Kreis, remain closely associated with the sport in Germany. The most well known of those were:
* Harold Kreis
* Roy Roedger
* Manfred Wolf
* Karl Friesen

ee also

*Ethnic German

External links

* [ University of Alberta's History of Germans in Alberta]
* [ Multicultural Canada website] including German books and periodicals

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