by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.
Italians have been coming to Canada for many years-the
most illustrious being Giovanni Caboto [John Cabot].
In the 18th century and early part of the 19th century, they came as
mercenaries and even missionaries (associated with orders
such as the Oblates of Mary Immaculate).
The real push to emigrate came with the unification of
By 1870. southern Italians believed their
interests in the new Italy dominated by the northern states
were being ignored. As well, economic unrest and
unemployment forced Italians from other regions to look for
work abroad. Beginning in the 1880s, their
primary destination was the United States, but they also
began to come to Canada. They worked on the railways,
forestry camps, mines, construction-anywhere that strong hands and back
could help them to gain a living. Join us in this
section as we look at about 150 years of Italian settlement
history in Canada.