Hungarians in Canada

According to the Canadian Census 2001, more than 315,000 people declared themselves Hungarian or a Hungarain descent. This ranks Hungarians as the 23rd largest immigrant group in Canada, and the 2nd largest in the western diaspora, after the USA.Hungarian immigrants arrived in Canada in five waves. The first group came with the pinoeers between 1885 and 1914, the second during the Great Depression between 1924 and 1934, the third after Word War II between 1947 and 1953, the fourth and fifth groups fled from communism after the 1956 revolution and during the Cold War after 1960.A special place should be given to the 200,000 refugees who fled Hungary after the 1956 revolution was beaten by Russian tanks, and from whom Canada accepted 40,000, which was the higest number among the adopting countries.

Jack Pickerskgill, then Minister of Immigration, deserves special credits for this process as he changed the immigration laws to help the Hungarian refugees to enter Canada. The refugees who arrived after the 1956 revolution proved to be one of the most successful group of immigrants in Canada’s history, because 2 years after their arrival none of them were on social assistance and, due to their higher school education, they integrated into the society, quickly.

The generation of the 1956 Hungarian immigrants is responsible for most of the Hungarian organizations in operation today, and many of them remains active members of the Hungarian public life in Canada.

After the political change in Hungary, many still arrived in Canada; NAHC intend to help them, also, and the members of the second generation Hungarians who do not speak the language anymore. We want to find Hungarian organizations, communities, encourage the Hungarian feeling of identity, and help embrace the culture. We welcome you to NAHC! Some well-known Canadians with Hungarian descent:

  • Professor János Selye (1907 – 1982), founder of the stress theory, Université de Montréal.
  • Professor John Charles Polanyi (1929 – ), scientist, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1986), University of Toronto, ON
  • Elvis Stojko (1972 – ), three times world champion skater, Richmond Hill, ON
  • Alanis Morrisette (1974 – ), musician and singer, Ottawa, ON
  • Adam van Koevarden (1982 – ), world and olympic champion in kayak, Burlington, ON