The region known as the 'West Indies' includes 40 island and coastal territories.
Also known as the Caribbean, it is a cluster or archipelago of
islands that begins on the tip of Florida and extends to the northern coast of South America. It is this chain
of islands that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Caribbean
Sea. The peoples of the Caribbean include groups varied in culture and
language, just as the region is varied in geography.
Although not the first instance of immigration
of Caribbean people to Canada, the 1960s were a significant
time of immigration for people from the West Indies to Alberta as well as
the rest of Canada. During World War II, there was an increased
interest in human resource development. With many of the young men
away fighting the war and many who would not return, Canada turned
to other countries to find skilled people to come to Canada.
this same time, skilled people in the Caribbean could not find
work that was suited to and fully used the skills and education
they had obtained. This was the reason for many Caribbean
immigrants to come to Alberta. As well, many Caribbean people came
to Canada to study at universities.
West Indian students began several of the Caribbean associations
on university campuses, and these associations are in existence in
Canada today. Most of the West Indian people who came to Canada
settled in central Canada, namely Ontario and the Greater Toronto
region. Most of these
immigrants moved to larger urban areas in search of education and
In turn with the availability of jobs and education
in Alberta, this province has attracted many Caribbean immigrants
to come from other provinces, such as Nova Scotia and Ontario.
This influx of people from the Caribbean has meant the development
of many different organizations supporting the rich culture, in
dancing, music, arts, foods, and games, in Alberta, most notably
the Cariwest celebration which takes place annually Edmonton. As
well, there have been organizations that focus on one of the many
areas of the culturally and geographically diverse Caribbean, such
as Trinidad and Tobago.
This digital collection was
produced with financial assistance from Canada's Digital
Collections initiative, Industry Canada.