Syrian Canadians

Arab Canadians Syria West Asian Canadians
Syrian Canadians
 Syria  Canada
Total population
77,050 (2016 census)
Regions with significant populations
Montreal, Greater Toronto Area
Canadian English, Canadian French, Arabic (Syrian Arabic), Armenian, Kurdish, Turkmen, Aramaic
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

Syrian Canadians refers to Canadians who claim Syrian ancestry and newcomers who have Syrian citizenship. According to the 2016 Census, there were 77,050 Syrian Canadians compared to the 2011 Census where there were 40,840.[1]


Syrians started immigrating to the Americas in the early part of the 1880s, while the vast majority migrated to South America, a small percentage made their way to America, and an even smaller percentage settled in Canada. The overwhelming majority of Syrians who settled in Canada from the 1880s-1960s were of the Christian faith. The so-called Shepard of the lost flock, Saint Raphael Hawaweeny of Brooklyn, New York, came to Montreal in 1896 to help establish a Christian association called the Syrian Benevolent Society and then later on an Orthodox church in Montreal for the newly arrived Syrian faithful.[2]

Since Justin Trudeau was elected as Prime Minister of Canada in 2015, over 25,000 Syrian refugees have settled in Canada.[3][4]

Economic life

The leading factor for the immigration of Syrians has been to find better employment. The early immigrants found themselves engaging in basic commerce, with the term 'peddler' becoming almost synonymous with 'Syrian'.[5] Most of these peddlers were successful, and, with time, and after raising enough capital, some became importers and wholesalers, recruiting newcomers and supplying them with merchandise. Others opened small businesses in urban centers all over the country.[6] Later, these merchants would go towards larger urban locations, where the economy was improving. Smaller number of Syrians worked as laborers in factories, miners, or as plumbers. Also, some became pioneers in the Southern prairie regions of Western Canada, and worked in farming.[6] These workers settled in communities such as Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and Lac La Biche, Alberta. Few reached the Northwest Territories, the best known being Peter Baker, author of the book An Arctic Arab, and later elected as a member of the legislative assembly of the Northwest Territories. By the 1930s, many towns in the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario, and Western Canada had one or more retail stores run by Syrian immigrants.[7]

Women also worked occasionally, in addition to housekeeping, and usually helped run the family store if they had one, and in the cities they would sell goods from door to door.[7]

Notable Syrian Canadians

Popular culture

Sabah, a 2005 film directed by Ruba Nadda, portrays a Syrian Canadian family in Toronto.

See also


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  2. ^ "About us". Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  3. ^ "Canada welcomes Syrian refugees". Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Liberals' revised goal met as 25,000th Syrian refugee arrives in Canada" – via The Globe and Mail.
  5. ^ "The Syrian Peddlers". Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  6. ^ a b "The Syrians in Canada". Retrieved 2007-05-03.
  7. ^ a b "Multicultural Canada". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
  8. ^ À voir à la télévision le samedi 24 mars - Carré d'as "Né dans le quartier Villeray à Montréal d'un père d'origine syrienne et d'une mère québécoise, le jeune Angelil était un leader"
  9. ^ Paul Anka: prolific songwriter, proud son of Lebanon,; accessed January 28, 2015.
  10. ^ Levy-Ajzenkopf, Andy (23 March 2011). "Industry minister is halachically Jewish - The Canadian Jewish News". Retrieved 20 August 2017.