Welsh Canadians

Y Wladfa Welsh Americans White Africans of European ancestry

Welsh Canadians
Canadiens gallois
Canadiaid Cymreig
Total population
(by ancestry, 2016 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Ontario, Western Canada, Atlantic Canada
Welsh, English, French
Related ethnic groups
Welsh, Welsh Americans, Welsh Argentines

Welsh Canadians are Canadian citizens of Welsh descent or Wales-born people who reside in Canada.

According to the 2011 Census, 458,705 Canadians claimed full or partial Welsh descent.[2] This increased to 474,805 in the 2016 Census[3]


Welsh mapmaker David Thompson was one of the great explorers of the North West Company in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and is often called "Canada's Greatest Geographer". He covered 130,000 kilometres on foot and surveyed most of the Canada–United States border in the early days of exploration.

One of the first efforts to encourage Welsh emigration to Canada began in 1812, when Welsh native John Mathews endeavoured to bring his family to Canada. Mathews left home at a young age and went on to become a successful businessman in the United States. When he returned to Wales, he found his family living in poverty and became convinced they should emigrate to Canada. In 1817 his family settled in the township of Southwald, near what is now London, Ontario. By 1812 he had brought over more relatives who built homes on the 100-acre (0.40 km2) lots granted to them by Colonel Thomas Talbot. The colony attracted 385 Welsh settlers by 1850 and retained its predominantly Welsh character until the late 1870s.

Early Welsh immigration to Canada was also spurred on by the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia in 1858. The development of underground mining provided employment for many Welsh coal miners who decided to remain in the area.

In 1902, Welsh immigrants arrived from Patagonia, which had been incorporated into Argentina in 1881. Compulsory military service and a series of floods that ruined Welsh farmers' crops led to some emigrants resettling at Llewelyn near Bangor, Saskatchewan, where they once again took up farming. A community of Welsh farmers was also established at Wood River near Ponoka, Alberta.

Welsh in Alberta

Historically, Alberta has had the highest number of people of Welsh descent as a proportion to population. In the 2016 Census, there are 80,455 people identifying as being of Welsh descent, which is around 2 % of the total population of Alberta.[4]


Welsh festivals in Canada today include Eisteddfodau, and Gymanfa Ganu. The Welsh in Canada celebrate St. David's Day, March 1st, the celebrations include storytelling and singing; banquets are also held in Lethbridge, Ponoka, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatchewan, and Fort McMurray. In Eastern Canada, the Central New Brunswick Welsh Society celebrates St. David's Day by hoisting the Welsh flag on March 1st at both the Provincial Legislature and City Hall in Fredericton, followed by a dinner for members and guests.

A newsletter serves the Welsh communities in Calgary and Lethbridge, while in Edmonton the St. David's Society issues a bulletin twice a year informing its members about upcoming events. Some Welsh Canadians subscribe to Ninnau, the Welsh national newspaper published in New York.

Welsh-Canadians have been active in the country's cultural life, supplying Canada with some of its more lively characters including novelist Robertson Davies, Powys Thomas, co-founder of the national theatre school, and Robert Harris, painter of the Fathers of Confederation.

Welsh language

In Alberta, there are Welsh language seminars in person and online.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. "Census Profile, 2016 Census, Canada - Ethnic Origin". Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  2. ^ Population by selected ethnic origins, by province and territory (2006 Census): Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 10, 2008.
  3. ^ Census Profile, 2016 Census, Canada - Ethnic Origin: Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  4. ^ [Census Profile, 2016 Census Alberta - Ethnic Origin]