hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:45:14 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page. Loading media information

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Vietnamese, Settlement

Vietnamese have come to Canada since the early 1950s. The first of these came to study in Quebec, an attractive destination as the French colonial presence in Vietnam made the language and aspects of the culture familiar.

The significant presence of Vietnamese in Alberta begins in 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War with the North Vietnamese army moving towards the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. Fearing persecution at the hand of the North Vietnamese, several thousand Vietnamese fled their homeland, many of these employed or supporters of the United States Government. With American assistance they reached holding camps in the United States. The Canadian government admitted a total of 3,000 Vietnamese refugees in the crisis, with most settling in Quebec and Ontario. Approximately 100 people came to Alberta, mostly from the camps in the United States. Few had heard of Alberta but through immigration officials had heard that employment prospects in Western Canada were very good.

Most of those who came settled in Edmonton and Calgary, usually living in the same neighbourhoods or apartment buildings to help each other find work and adapt to the dramatic change in culture and climate. For example, thirty Vietnamese arrived in Calgary in June through December in 1975, several of these former naval and air force officers. Many of the new arrivals took residence in the area of 15th Avenue and 11th Street South West. Few found work which met their level of skill and education. A teacher became a seamstress, university educated engineers studied at technical schools to obtain certification. From 1975-78, Canada admitted just over 9000 immigrants from Vietnam, as well as neighbouring Kampuchea and Cambodia.

Although some degree of economic stability would be reached quickly, separation from families in Vietnam and lack of communications was not so easily overcome. As well, many of those newly arrived worked more than one job and were able to relay money to family in Vietname to alleviate the difficult circumstances of day to day life.