The Italians at BAnQ

The Italians at BAnQ

Designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 2002

Montreal’s Italian community is one of the largest in Canada, second only to Toronto. With 279,795 residents of Italian ancestry as of the 2016 census in Greater Montreal,[2] Montreal has many Italian districts, such as La Petite-Italie, Saint-Leonard (Città Italiana), Rivière-des-Prairies, and LaSalle. Italian is the third most spoken language in Montreal and in the province of Quebec.

The Italian Immigrant Presence in Canada, 1840-1990 John E. Zucchi McGill University.

In the last one-hundred years, more than 650,000 Italians have immigrated to Canada, almost three-quarters of them in the period following World War I1 (Rosoli, 1978:35%5). They have settled primarily in Toronto and Montreal, and to a lesser degree in Vancouver, but also in significant numbers in scores of small and large mining and industrial towns in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia….. The literature on Italian immigration to Canada is extensive and is represented by a number of fields, primarily history, sociology, anthropology, geography, political science and literature.1.

In the early 20th century, a new wave of European immigrants made its way to Québec and to Montréal. Among them were thousands of Italians who brought with them their traditions, their values, and their customs, going on to form one of the oldest and largest immigrant cultural communities in Montréal.2.

Of all the immigrants Montreal has welcomed since its founding, the Italians have had the greatest impact on the city. From the arts to politics, agriculture, real estate, gastronomy and sports, the Italian community has influenced every sector of life in Montreal.

The Italian presence on Quebec soil goes back to the founding of Montreal. Italian settlers served in the French regiment of Carignan-Salières (1670) to help fight the Iroquois. In return, the King of France gave them land. More Italian migrants arrived, and in 1860, 60 Italian families called Montreal home. From 1900 to 1915, more than eight million Italians left their country. Many headed for Europe, while others ended up in North America, especially the United States, and a few settled in Quebec, primarily in Montreal.

Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense parish, also known by its Italian name, Madonna della Difesa, is the first Italian parish in Canada. It is located along Saint-Laurent Boulevard, with Saint-Zotique and Jean-Talon streets marking its limits. Educational, assistance, recreational and sports establishments quickly sprung up in the community. It was here that, in 1927, the grand Notre-Dame-de-la-Défense Church was inaugurated. In 2002, the Government of Canada designated this church a national historic site.3.


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