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Vietnamese, Settlement

Vietnamese people have come to Canada since the early 1950s. Large numbers of Vietnamese people came to Alberta in 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War. Fearing persecution at the hand of the North Vietnamese, several thousand (South) 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 jobs were available in Western Canada.

Most of those who came settled in Edmonton and Calgary, usually living in the same areas 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. 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.