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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Atlantic Canadians have a rich and distinct heritage of their own which they have brought to Alberta. This group includes people who have immigrated from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island.

Atlantic Canada has experienced three general waves of emigration, all of which were borne out of economic necessity. The first wave began during World War I and continued through the Interwar Period when many Atlantic Canadians began to look elsewhere, particularly the United States, for work and economic opportunity. Following  World War II, there was a second wave of emigration from Atlantic Canada towards   Toronto for employment.  It was the third wave of emigration that would have the most impact on Alberta largely due to the development of the petroleum industry. The decision of many Atlantic Canadians to immigrate to Alberta is similar to the previous movements to Toronto or Boston, based on economic opportunity. Atlantic Canadians believed there would be a better opportunity in Alberta for employment that paid well and, as a result, many Atlantic Canadians have settled in areas rich in natural resources and industry, such as Fort McMurray.  Other Atlantic Canadians, particularly those who possess higher education, have chosen to settle in some of the larger urban areas, such as Edmonton and Calgary, where there is more opportunity to gain professional employment. 

Atlantic Canadians are regarded as a tight-knit group and have formed many societies and groups, both formal and informal. Atlantic Canadians in Calgary have formed the Maritime Reunion Association as a place for gathering and socializing.  One of the notable concentrations in Alberta of  Atlantic Canadians is in Fort McMurray, where Atlantic Canadian Albertans make up a large portion of the population and have become an important part of that community.
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