Canadian People and Culture

Canada is globally recognized for its embrace of multiculturalism, making it an attractive location for international students travelling away from their family and home. Immigrants from over 250 different ethnic origins make up one fifth of Canada’s population of over 37 million. 

Canada’s largest immigrant population is from India at 8.9%, followed by China at 8.6%, and the Philippines at 7.8%. According to the 2016 Canadian census, 4 in 10 immigrants aged 25 to 64 have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Canadians enshrined multiculturalism into law in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988, after becoming the first country to declare multiculturalism as an official policy in 1971. Canada is also the only country in the world that has an Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which aims to guarantee success for all Canadian newcomers by ensuring integration into the Canadian labour market and helping immigrants find a perfect career fit in Canada.

A bar graph showing the population of Canada broken down into the most populous ethnic origins.
This graph shows the most populous ethnic origins of Canadians, according to a 2016 census reported by Statistics Canada.

Canadian Culture

Canada is home to globally renowned artists, authors, musicians, actors, and some of the world’s most innovative doctors, architects, scientists, and engineers.

Prominent figures in the arts include: Margaret Atwood, Yann Martel, Canada’s Group of Seven artists, Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Drake, Ryan Gosling, David Suzuki, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Emily Carr, Lucy Maud Montgomery, just to name a few.

Canada is also home to world-renowned scientific innovators. Fifteen Canadian scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for making scientific breakthroughs, including:

  • Sir Frederick Banting, who won in 1923 for discovering insulin
  • Donna Strickland, who won for chirped pulse amplification of lasers, and is also the third woman in history to receive a Nobel Prize in the sciences
  • James Peebles, who won in 2019 for discovering the cosmic background radiation and contributing to further understanding of dark matter and energy
A Canadian women's soccer team plays on a grassy soccer pitch while spectators look on from the stands.
Canadian Soccer
Spectators and players crowd the Toronto Raptors basketball court as the Jumbotron displays "Raps Win.
A hitter stands at the plate alongside a catcher and umpire while a stadium full of baseball fans watches.

Canada also produces world-class athletes who participate in many sports besides hockey, which Canadians are stereotypically associated with. Canadians love watching their favourite soccer teams in the Canadian Soccer League, football teams play in the Canadian Football League, the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, and the Toronto Blue Jays playing in Major League Baseball.

Canadian Cuisine

Due to Canada’s cultural mosaic, Canadians can enjoy pasta, butter chicken, sushi, pho, falafel, moussaka, and pad thai any day of the week alongside quintessential Canadian foods like butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, Kraft Dinner, poutine, tourtiere, back bacon, maple syrup, ketchup chips, and caesar cocktails. 

Many “Canadian” foods also have their roots in Jewish heritage, developed after Jewish immigration began in the late 1800’s. These foods include the classic Montreal-style bagel and Montreal smoked meat. Aren’t you curious to try some of these fun Canadian foods?

A person holds a fork over a dish of french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds.
Poutine is a popular Canadian food made from french fries and cheese curds which became popularized in Quebec in the 1950’s.
Purple and green grapes grown on a vine.
The Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, the Niagara region in Ontario, and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia are well known for fruit orchards and vineyards that produce Canadian wine.
A lineup of people stand on a Montreal street waiting to get into Schwartz's Deli.
Schwartz’s Deli opened in Montreal in 1928 and still a famous culinary destination. This is just one example of how immigrant populations from around the world have influenced “Canadian” food culture.

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