Croatian Canadians

Croats Calgary Hamilton, Ontario
Croatian Canadians
Hrvati u Kanadi or Hrvatski Kanađani
Total population
133,965 (2016)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Toronto, Vancouver, Windsor, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Waterloo Region
Canadian English, Canadian French, Croatian
Majority Christian
Related ethnic groups
Croatian Americans, European Canadians, Yugoslav Canadians
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Croatian Canadians are Canadian citizens who are of Croatian descent. The community exists in major cities including the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor, Montreal and Waterloo Region.

Popular events celebrated in the Croatian-Canadian community include the Canadian-Croatian Folklore Festival (held in eastern and western Canada) and the Croatian-North American Soccer Tournament.


There were approximately 114,880 Canadians of Croatian ethnic origin as reported in the 2011 Census compiled by Statistics Canada,[2] rising to 133,965 by the 2016 Census.[1] Although predominantly found in Ontario, Croatian Canadians are present in most major Canadian cities throughout the country. The ten largest Croatian communities are found in the following cities:[3]

The town with the largest percentage of people of Croatian ethnic origin is Kenaston, Saskatchewan - 17.5% of its 285 inhabitants claim Croatian ethnic origin. Statistics Canada also designates Census Metropolitan Areas in the collection of its data. The ten Census Metropolitan Areas with the highest concentration of Croatian Canadians are:[3]

Religious affiliation

Most Croatian Canadians are Roman Catholic who follow the Latin Rite of their ancestors in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is in line with the population in Croatia, which is also majority Catholic. A very small minority of Croatians are Byzantine Rite Roman Catholics. There is also a very small community of Croats who follow Islam, the descendants of those who converted after the 16th century, after the conquest of much of Croatia by the Ottomans. Communities of Protestants have historically been negligible in Croatia.


In Canada, the first ethnic Croatian parish was established in Windsor in 1950. Soon, parishes were established in Toronto (1951), Hamilton (1958), Vancouver (1967), Winnipeg (1968). Today there are ethnic Croatian parishes and missions in seventeen cities in Canada. One of the most prominent Croatian Catholic parishes is the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Norval, Ontario. The establishment of the parish began in 1976 when community members, under the guidance of the Franciscan Friars, gathered for one evening to discuss the necessity and logistics of creating a place of gathering and cultural and faith building and preservation for the large Croatian immigrant population. In May 1977, 160 acres of property were purchased by the organizing committee with the specific dedication to Croatian Catholics.[4] In the Norval Croatian Centre, as is in many other Croatian Catholic parishes, brochures, books, CDs and other forms of Croatian media are offered.

The Croatian Catholic youth in particular have started and taken part in many faith developments of their own. The Croatian Catholic Youth Group (CCY) is a faith-based group that comes together by schedule to discuss Catholic subjects and strengthen their religious belief.[5] In addition, Mladifest is an annual event started in 2013 by the Queen of Peace Parish and has each year attracted hundreds of young Catholic Croatian to further explore the intersection of their faith and culture. As the event continued to develop over the years, the rotation of it between host parishes started, with the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Mladifest being in Norval, 2016 in Sacred Heart, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2017 in Immaculate Heart of Mary, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2018 in Croatian Martys Church, Mississauga, Ontario, and 2019 in Saint Nicholas Tavelic, Montreal, Quebec.[6] It is an event funded by each parishes' members donations and contributions to bake sales, banquets and other events held to amass funds.


Previously unorganized Croats of the Muslim faith, with the arrival of eminent physician Asaf Duraković[7] founded the Croatian Islamic Centre[8] on June 23, 1973 in Etobicoke (75 Birmingham Street, Etobicoke, ON M8V 2C3),[9] helped by the Croatian Catholic community.[7][10] An old Catholic school was bought for 75,000 CAD and readjusted into masjid. There was also a community of Bosnian Muslims of Yugoslav option, but the Croat option of Bosnian Muslims never cooperated with them, since Muslim Croats considered Yugoslavs and Communists as chetniks and as their worst enemies due to violence and historical oppression. Since the old building was in bad condition, a new mosque was built on the site of the old one in 1983.[7]

Today, given changing political affiliations and political pressures from 1990's, and influx of non-Croat option of Bosnian Muslims, the center is now known as the Bosnian Islamic Centre. Despite that, today 4 out of 64 Canadian mosques have the attribute "Croatian".[9] In Croatian Islamic Centre the children are taught the Croatian and Arabic languages, but there also Croatian Islamic newspapers, books, brochures, etc.[10][11][12] Croatian Islamic Center called on Muslim governments, organisations, and individuals to press the Yugoslav regime, to end the persecution of Islam and to grant genuin equality of Muslims in Yugoslavia. The director of Centre Kerim Reis wanted that Belgrade releases the Muslim prisoners of conscience and to end to restrictions on the building of mosques.[13] During Yugoslavia, this group often spoke accused Tito's Yugoslavia for practising discrimination both Muslim and Catholic Croats.[14]


While an overwhelming percentage of Croatians in Canada remain Roman Catholic, there are non-Catholic populations, including Protestants (most of whom have been in Canada for more than one generation) and Eastern Orthodox (the majority of whom are of mixed ethnic background).

Notable Croatian Canadians




Arts and entertainment


Political activists


See also


  1. ^ a b "Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity Highlight Tables".
  2. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b c Fikret Artuković: Toronto slavi 35 godina hrvatske džamije (picture)
  8. ^ Salatomatic - Croatian Islamic Centre
  9. ^ a b "Toronto: 'Hrvatska' džamija slavi 35 godina postojanja!" [Toronto: 'Croatian' mosque celbrates 35th anniversary!] (in Croatian). BH June 24, 2008. Archived from the original on April 22, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Vinko Grubisic: Croatians in Toronto, From: Polyphony Vol.6, 1984 pp. 88-91 Archived 2011-07-06 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Google Books Massacre of Croatians in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Sandžak, Croatian Islamic Centre (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1978
  12. ^ Mushtak Parker: Muslims in Yugoslavia: The quest for justice, Croatian Islamic Center, 1986, ASIN: B0006EVF9U
  13. ^ Google Books The Light, Vol. 20-21, Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania, 1986
  14. ^ Google Books Paul R. Magocsi,Multicultural History Society of Ontario: Encyclopedia of Canada's peoples