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IntroductionExplore the Communities

Section title: Irish
Introduction | History | Daily Life | Culture | References


  Settlement on Long Island on the Rideau River, Upper Canada (Ontario), 1830

The Irish population of Canada began with settlers who came during the early years of the 1800s. These immigrants were primarily middle-class farmers and most were Protestant in religion. They followed a pattern, called chain migration, familiar to many groups that moved to a new land.


The fishing industry off Newfoundland was involved in bringing some Irish people to this Atlantic colony as early as the 1700s. Fishing vessels from ports in England stopped at Waterford, in Ireland, to take on food supplies and Irish workers before heading for the fishing season on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. After a few years, some Irish fishery workers put up rough houses in Newfoundland and stayed during the winters, rather than going home at the end of each fishing season. Permanent settlements developed on the Avalon Peninsula in the southeastern part of Newfoundland. The first of these settlers were mainly Catholics from the south of Ireland. By the year 1835, approximately 35,000 people of Irish origin had settled in Newfoundland.

18th-century engraving depicting equipment and methods used at coastal fishing station in Newfoundland   This stamp commemorates the Roman Catholic Church in Newfoundland, 1784-1984


chain migration: a pattern of the movement of people from their homes. One group leads the way, sends back good news about their new homes, and others from the same community follow to the new land.

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