Historical background

    The first Croatians who set foot on what is today Canada were two sailors; Ivan Malogrudic from the city of Senj and Marin Masalarada, from Dubrovnik. They were part of the crew on Jacques Cartier’s third voyage to New France in 1541-1542. There is evidence that a Croatian mineworker was part of the team that travelled with the explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1606. Croatian soldiers, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Army, were sent as enforcement for the French Army to defend New France, in the war against the British in 1758-1759. In the 1860’s, the Croatians started to participate in the fishing industry of British Columbia and took part in the Caribou Gold Rush and Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890’s. The first big wave of Croatians immigrated to the western part of Canada, at the beginning of the 20th century. The first chapter of the Croatian Fraternal Union in Canada, the largest Croatian association in North America, was established in Ladysmith B.C in 1903. In 1930, the Croatian Pasents Union was established. The Croatian Catholic Parish was established in Windsor, Ontario. After the collapse of the gold rush, only a few Croatian fishermen, mostly from the island of Lošinj remained in Ladner, BC. A few Croatian families also settled on Vancouver island, notably in the town of Nanaimo. They were employed in the coal mining industry.

    At the beginning of the 20th century, the first agricultural settlements were established, mainly in the proximity of Kenaston, Saskatchewan. Those immigrants were almost exclusively from the Lika area of Lovinac. By the end of WW I., the Croatian population rose to 28.000 people. It should be noted that the ratio of Croatian returnees to Croatia was large, because the majority of the immigrants were young single men who worked in Canada for a few years and decided to go back to there Croatian homesteads. (every 4th Croatian moved back home).

    The post WW II. immigrants were on average better educated and came from urban areas. This wave of Croatian immigrants, came to Canada for political reasons, as well as economic. Many of the immigrants had spent time in refugee camps in Austria, before getting an immigration visa to enter Canada. In the period between 1945 and 1956, on average 1,500 Croatians entered Canada per annum, almost all of them political immigrants. Between the years 1957 and 1961, the number jumped to 25,000, of which 8,000 were refugees.

    However, on the other hand, some 2,000 Croatians decided to migrate back to Croatia after the establishment of a socialist Croatia. After experiencing the harsh reality of a socialist Croatia, 1/3 of these migrants immigrated back to Canada.

    Economic Life

    In the early years, Croatians were mainly farmers, fishermen and labourers in the lumber and mining industry. In accordance to this fact, many Croatians were engaged in the early stages of the union movement in Canada. Marko Vidulic was one of the founders of the Fishermen’s Union on the Fraser River in B.C., back in the 1900’s. Mike Čanić and Peter Pavelich were prominent individuals of the Workers Union during the 1930’s depression.

    Early on self-help societies were established because of the dangerous working conditions and deaths in the workplace. In 1903, Bill Keserić established the first self-help society called the National Croatian Society St. Nicholas, in Ladysmith, B.C (he later died in a mining accident in 1915). After this, these societies were established in Trail and Grand Forks, BC, in 1907, Thorold, ON, in 1909 etc. The first lodge of the Croatian Fraternal Union (CFU) in Canada was established in Welland, ON, in 1923. By 1930, the CFU had 27 lodges throughout Canada with more than 2,000 members.
    The postwar immigrants had very different job traits then their fellow compatriots from the first immigration wave. Only 2 % were employed in agriculture, and 5 % in the fishing and mining industry. The majority worked in blue-collar jobs (25 %) and in construction (ca. 13 %) in Canadian urban centers.

    Community Life

    The first Croatian newspaper was Croatian Voice (later called Canadian Voice). Petar Stanković was the editor from 1929 to 1977, in Winnipeg, which was closely related to the Croatian Peasant Party. More left oriented Croatians read the short-lived newspaper „Struggle“(Toronto 1930. – 1936.) edited by Petar Žapkar. During the interwar period, many community halls were built, and some communities, such as Sudbury and Windsor, ON founded tamburica orchestras, choirs and women’s societies.

    After WW II. the first sporting clubs were established, mainly soccer clubs- the great love of almost every Croatian. Adria Club from Sudbury was one of the first clubs founded in 1950. The Croatian National Soccer Club was founded in Toronto in 1956, in Hamilton in 1957. Toronto Croatia won the city title in 1959, the Ontario title in 1970, the national title from 1971 to 1974 consecutively. After the club merged with the Toronto Metros in 1974, into a new club the Toronto Metros-Croatia, the club won the North American title in 1976.

    Canadians of Croatian heritage have greatly enriched Canadian sports history. To mention a few: brothers Frank and Peter Mahovlich and Joe Šakić in hockey, as well as George Chuvalo in boxing.

    Religious life

    Croatians in Canada, like their fellow compatriots back home, are to a vast majority Roman Catholic. The first Croatian Catholic parish “Francis of Assisi “was established in Windsor in 1950. After that followed Sudbury and Hamilton in 1958, Nanaimo in 1960, Toronto in 1961 and 1965, Sault Ste. Marie in 1962, Montreal in 1964, Vancouver in 1968, Calgary in 1970, Winnipeg in 1974 and Thunder Bay in 1977.

    Political Life in Canada

    Many Croatians and their descendents became members of the Canadian political system. On the municipal level, Joseph Mavrinac served as the Mayor of Kirkland Lake, ON from 1967-1979. Frank Krznaric served four terms as a Timmins city councilor from 1981 to 1993. On the provincial level, Peter Sekulich was elected a liberal member of the legislative assembly of Alberta in 1993. John Sola was elected a member of the provincial parliament of Ontario in 1987. Anne Markovich-Hemingway was president of the New Democratic Party in Alberta in 1977. David Stupich was elected as a member of the legislative assembly of British Colombia in 1963. He served as a New Democratic Party Cabinet Minister from 1973 to 1975. He also was a member of parliament in 1988. On the federal level, other Canadian-Croatians who were elected as members of parliament in 1993 are Janko Peric from Cambridge, Ontario, Jan Brown from Calgary, Roseanne Skoke from Nova Scotia and Allan Kerpan from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

    Socio-demographic analaysis

    Canada has held a census of the population every five years since 1966. Before 1966, a census was held in 10 year intervals. The last available census data is from 2001. The Canadian census includes questions on ethnic background and multiple answers are possible. The census also includes questions on language usage, home language, knowledge of official languages.

    There are no exact figures on the number of Croatians in Canada before the year 1921, since the Croatian population was included under “Austrians” and/or “Hungarians”, due to the fact that Croatia was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is estimated that during this period some 4.000 people of Croatian origin came to Canada. From the years 1918 to 1929, some 12.000 Croatians entered Canada. It is also interesting to note that there was a high percentage of re-emigration due to the fact that most immigrants were men who worked in Canada for some years and then returned home to their families.

    The census for 1931 identified the Croatians as a separate ethnic group for the first time. Because of this, 10.531 people declared to be of Croatian ethnic background. This number rose to 14.863 people in the census of 1941. The census of 1951 identified 11,031, while the census for the year 1961 identified 28.886 people, the census of 1971 had 20.860, and the census of 1976 had 20.390. The census of 1981 showed a total of 35.120 people of Croatian heritage, while the number climbed to 41.550 in the census of 1991. The census of 1996 identified 84.495 people of Croatian origin.

    The most recent census of 2001 identified a total of 97.050 people of Croatian background. From this number 58.170 people reported being entirely Croatian background and the other 38.880 people reported being partly Croatian background on the census form.

    The Croatian community resides mostly in the following urban areas: Toronto 30.590, Vancouver 11.225, Hamilton 9.715, Calgary 3.900, Kitchener 3.630, Windsor 3.495, Montreal 3.270, Edmonton 3.230, Ottawa 2.885, London 2.445, Winnipeg 2.410, St. Catherine’s-Niagara 2.000, Thunder Bay 1.060 and Victoria 1.055.

    Persons of Croatian ethnick background according to Province/Territory:

    According to the 2001 census data, 71.725 people declared that they speak Croatian. From this number 56.840 persons speak Croatian as the mother tongue, of which 54.870 speak it exclusively, while 1.970 speak it in combination with another language. 44.605 people declared that Croatian is their home language, of which 10.645 reported that Croatian is their exclusive home language, 13.635 speak Croatian predominantly in the home, 4.135 equally with another language and 16.190 regularly.

    Out of the total of 54.870 people who reported that their mother tongue is Croatian, 27.505 most often speak English at home, 325 French, 55 English and French, 3.250 English and Croatian, 95 French and Croatian and 35 English, French and Croatian.

    The question on knowledge of official languages was answered as follows: 48.165 declared that they only speak English, 455 only French and 4.360 speak both official languages and 1.905 speak neither.

    Knowledge of Croatian language according to Province/Territory:

    The 2001 census also provides a socio-economic picture of the Croatian community in Canada. The data comprises of 76.685 persons of Croatian background who are 15 years of age and older. From this number 25.970 have never been married, 41.895 are married, 1.480 are separated, 3.910 are divorced and 3.430 are widowed. 51.150 people are born in Croatia, while another 45.415 are born outside of Canada, of which 425 were born in the USA, 165 in Central and South America, 10 in the Caribbean, 44.380 in Europe, 40 in Africa, 70 in Asia and 320 in Australia and Oceania.

    Of those born outside of Canada 7.680 migrated before 1961, 13.040 between 1961 and 1970, 8.505 between 1971 and 1980, 3.250 between 1981 and 1990, and 12.930 between 1991 and 2001 (of which 6.515 came between 1991 and 1996 and 6.415 between 1996 and 2001). There are a total of 43.265 people of first generation Croatian Canadians, 27.015 of second generation and 6.405 of third generation Croatian Canadians.
    Out of a total of 97.050 persons of Croatian background, 89.485 are Canadian citizens and 7.565 are foreign nationals. From this number, 96.260 people are white and 790 belong to a visible minority.

    The religious composition of the Croatian community is as follows: 77.025 or 79.4 % are Roman Catholic, 5.870 or 6 % are Protestant, 2.745 or 2.8 % are Orthodox Christians, 1.120 or 1.2 % are other Christians, 490 or 0.5 % are Muslims, 100 or 0.1% are Jewish, 70 or 0.07 % are Buddhist, 20 or 0.02 % are Sikhs and 9.600 0r 9.9 % are without a religious affiliation.

    The Embassy of the Republic of Croatia has regular and intense contacts with Croatian associations, as well as individuals during cultural manifestations, consular days, political discussions and economic information.

    The Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Mississauga has some 63.835 people of Croatian heritage under its jurisdiction, while the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa looks after the remainder of 33.240 people of Croatian background.


    Comparing the data from the 1996 and 2001 census, it has to be noted that the number of people reporting Croatian and another language as a mother tongue decreased. On the other hand, the number of people reporting Croatian as a sole mother tongue increased. The number of Croatian mother tongue speakers increased in all provinces with the exception of New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories. The largest growth was observed in Alberta, where the number rose by some 970 people or almost 28 %. This growth can be partially explained by the economic growth in Alberta, which attracted Croatians from other provinces. It is evident that the number of Croatian mother tongue speakers rose from 52.280 to 56.850.



    CALGARY, Alberta
    Župa Majke Božje Bistričke
    14680 Deer Ridge Dr. S.E.
    Calgary, Alberta, T2J 5Y4
    Tel: ++ 1 (403) 278-3808; Fax: ++ 1 (403) 271-9501
    E-mail: dominvladic@shaw.ca
    Župnik: Vlč. Domin Vladić

    EDMONTON, Alberta
    Hrvatska katolička župa Mala Gospa
    10560 98th Street
    Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 2N4
    Tel. and Fax: ++ 1 (780) 429-0559
    Email: croatch@telus.net
    Župnik: Fr. Franjo Višaticki

    British Columbia

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia
    Župa Prečistog Srca Marijina
    3105 E. First Avenue
    Vancouver, B.C., V5M 1B6
    Tel: ++ 1 (604) 253-2089, Fax:++ 1 (604) 254-5198
    E-mail: heartofmary@shaw.ca
    Župnik: Fra Pavao Norac Kevo
    Pom. župnik: Fra Dalibor Grčić

    VICTORIA, British Columbia
    Hrvatska župa Sv. Leopolda Mandića
    4081 Gordon Head Road
    Victoria, B.C., V8N 3X7
    Tel: ++1 (250) 721-4851; Fax: ++ 1 (250) 721-3061
    Župnik: Fra Jure Marčinković


    Župa Sv. Nikole Tavelića
    2688 Main Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 2E4
    Tel: ++ 1 (204) 339-3264; Fax: ++ 1 (204) 339-4907
    Župnik: Msgr. Norman J. Chartrand


    Župa Sv. Križa
    1883 King St. East
    Hamilton, Ontario, L8K 1V9
    Tel: ++ 1 (905) 549-6706; Fax:++ 1 (905) 544-7217
    E-mail: holy.cross.hr@sympatico.ca
    Župnik: Vlč. Marijan S. Mihoković
    Pom. župnik: Rev. Mladen Vuk

    Župa Sv. Obitelji
    180 Schweitzer Street
    Kitchener, Ontario, N2K 2R5
    Tel: ++ 1 (519) 743-7121; Fax:++ 1 (519) 571-0115
    E-mail: HFCP@SENTEX.CA
    Župnik: Fra Miro Grubišić

    LONDON, Ontario
    Župa Sv. Leopolda Mandića
    1105 Wellington Rd. South, Box 9060
    London, Ontario, N6E 1V0
    Tel: ++ 1 (519) 681-8472; Fax: ++ 1 (519) 681-2120
    E-mail: leopoldmandic@rcec.london.on.ca
    Župnik: Fra Zvonimir Kutleša

    MISSISSAUGA, Ontario
    Župa hrvatskih mučenika
    4605 Mississauga Rd., P.B. 664
    Mississauga, Ontario, L5M 2C2
    Tel: ++ 1 (905) 826-8844; Fax:++ 1 (905) 826-4083
    Župnik: Rev. Ivica Reparinac

    NORVAL, Ontario
    Hrvatsko franjevačko središte "Kraljica Mira"
    9118 Winston Churchill Blvd.
    Norval, Ontario, L0P 1K0
    Tel: ++ 1 (905) 456-3203; Fax:++ 1 (905) 450-8771
    E-mail: info@queenofpeacenorval.com
    Župnik: Fra Stjepan Pandžić
    Pomoćni župnik: Fra Vinko Bebek

    OAKVILLE, Ontario
    Župa Presvetog Trojstva
    2110 Trafalgar Rd.
    Oakville, Ontario, L6J 4Z2
    Tel:++ 1 (905) 842-2386, Fax: ++ 1 (905) 842-2916
    Email: office@holytrinitycroatian.org
    Župnik: Vlč. Ilija Petković
    Pomoćni župnik: Don Ivan Vukšić

    OTTAWA, Ontario
    Hrv. katolička župa sv. Leopolda Mandića
    97 Lyndale Avenue
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1Y 2M7
    Tel: ++ 1 (613) 722-7135; Fax: ++ 1 (613) 722-5358
    E-mail: slmcp@comnet.ca
    Župnik: Rev. Adam Tabak

    SAULT STE MARIE, Ontario
    Župa Majke Božje zaštitnice putnika
    466 Second Line East
    Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, P6B 4K1
    Tel: ++ 1 (705) 253-8191; Fax: ++ 1 (705) 253-8804
    Župnik: Fra Veselko Kvesić

    SUDBURY, Ontario
    Hrvatska župa Sv. Marka
    140 Alder Street
    Sudbury, Ontario, P3C 4J8
    Tel: ++ 1 (705) 675-5758; Fax: ++ 1 (705) 675-6318
    E-mail: holytrinity@cyberglobe.net
    Župnik: Fra Ilija Puljić

    THUNDER BAY, Ontario
    Hrvatska župa Uznesenja BD Marije
    479 Oliver Road
    Thunder Bay, Ontario, P7B 2G8
    Tel: ++ 1 (807) 345-2249; Fax:++ 1 (807) 345-9864
    E-mail: bla19722001@yahoo.com
    Župnik: Rev. Franc Blažek

    TORONTO, Ontario
    Župa naše Gospe Kraljice Hrvata
    7 Croatia Street
    Toronto, Ontario, M6H 1K8
    Tel: ++ 1 (416) 536-3669; Fax:++ 1 (416) 536-6066
    E-mail: queen.croatia.toronto@sympatico.ca
    Župnik: Vlč. Ivan Novak

    WELLAND, Ontario
    Hrvatska župa Sv. Antuna
    360 River Road
    Welland, Ontario, L3B 2S4
    Tel: ++ 1 (905) 732-3839; Fax: ++ 1 (905) 732-2271
    Župnik: Fra Alojzije Mikić

    WINDSOR, Ontario
    Župa Sv. Franje Asiškog
    1701 Turner Road
    Windsor, Ontario, N8V 3J9
    Tel: ++ 1 (519) 252-6871; Fax:++ 1 (519) 252-6942
    E-mail: francisofassisi@cogeco.net
    Župnik: Fra Ljubo Lebo


    MONTREAL, Quebec
    Župa Sv. Nikole Tavelića
    4990 Place de la Savane
    Montreal, Quebec, H4P 1Z6
    Tel: ++ 1 (514) 739-7497; Fax:++ 1 (514) 737-6803
    E-mail: fra.j.grubisic@progression.net
    Župnik: Fra Jozo Grubišić



    Croatian Radio Program Calgary 90.9 FM
    Ms. Mira Keča
    ph: ++ (403) 243 1211
    fax: ++ (403) 243 3496


    Croatian Radio Program Edmonton
    8848-92 Street, Edmonton
    AB, T6C 3R1, Canada
    Mrs. Ankica Korenić & Mr. Mato Korenić
    ph: ++ (780) 431 2841, ++ (780) 915 8215


    Croatian Radio Program CHIN FM 100.7
    Monday - Friday 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
    Mr. Ivica Lončarić
    ph: ++ (905) 602 8900

    Croworld Radio AM 530
    English and Croatian Youth Program
    Wednesday 11:00 AM– 12:00 PM
    Sunday 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM

    Radio Domobran
    Mr. Jerko Granić
    ph: ++ 1 905 828 1350
    fax: ++ 1 905 828 4627

    Croatian Information Radio
    (Internet radio)
    Sundays od 9:00PM to 10:00 PM
    on www.am530.com
    Ms. Veronika Topić
    ph: ++ 1 905 795 9038
    fax: ++ 1 905 795 9039

    Hrvatski vjersko-kulturni radio program “HRVATSKA STRAŽA”, CJMR AM 1320
    svake nedjelje od 3:00 do 4:00


    Croatian Radio Vancouver 1470 AM
    Sunday 8:00 AM– 9:00 AM
    Mr. Zlatko Jelinić
    ph: ++ (604) 271 1470



    Croatian Canadian Cultural Centre
    3010 12th Street, N.E.
    Calgary, AB T2E 7P7, Canada
    Mr. Luka Nikšić
    ph: ++ (403) 250 9821
    fax: ++ (403) 250 8743

    Canadian Croatian Congress
    Branch Calgary
    1392 Northmount Dr., N.W.
    Calgary, AB T2L 0G2, Canada
    Mr. Ivan Suta
    ph: ++ (403) 220 1454


    Canadian Croatian Congress
    Branch Edmonton
    10560 98 Street
    Edmonton, AB T5H 2N4, Canada
    Mr. Stjepan Krolo
    ph: ++ (780) 469 9612


    Canadian Croatian Congress
    3550 Commercial Drive
    Vancouver, BC V5N 4E9
    Mr. Ivan Curman
    ph: ++ (604) 871 9170, ++(604) 880 0170, ++ (604) 879 8915
    fax: ++ (604) 879 2256

    Canadian Croatian Congress
    Branch British Columbia
    3550 Commercial Drive
    Vancouver, BC V5N 4E9
    g. Pave Cikes
    tel:++ (604) 871 9170

    Croatian Cultural Centre Vancouver
    3250 Commercial Drive
    Vancouver, BC V5N 4E4
    Ms. Đurđa Krilić
    ph: ++ (604) 879 0154
    fax: ++ (604) 879 2308

    Young Croatian Canadian Alliance
    258 6th Street
    New Westminster, BC, Canada

    Croatian Canadian Folklore Federation West
    Zvonimir Aničić, president


    AMCA - Toronto
    162 Glencairn AVE
    Toronto, ON M4R 1M9
    Mr. Nikola Demarin
    ph: ++ (416) 487 9336

    Croatian Canadian Chamber of Commerce
    630 The East Mall
    Etobicoke, Ontario
    M9B 4B1 , Canada
    Mr. John Marion, president
    ph: ++ (416) 641-2829
    cell: ++ (647)290-8337
    Fax: ++ (416) 641-2700

    Croatian Credit Union Ltd.
    19 Dundas Street West,
    Mississauga, ON.
    Canada, L5B 1H2
    ph. (905) 276 1962

    318 Queenston Road
    Hamilton, ON L8K 1H5
    ph. (905) 547 8884
    1165 Bloor Street West
    Toronto, ON M6H 1M9
    ph. (416) 532 4006

    Croatian Canadian Folklore Federation
    Nikica Vrdoljak, president
    ph: ++ 1 905 508 9344
    fax: ++ 1 905 508 4696

    Croatian Canadian Folklore Federation East
    Luka Božić, president
    ph: ++ 1 905 683 9612

    Croatian canadian Library
    Streetsville, Ontario
    89 Queen Street South, Mississauga
    Tuesday & Thursday: 5 pm - 8 pm
    Sunday 10 am to 1 pm
    Mr. Ivica Puhalo
    ph:++ (905) 507-1389

    Canadian Croatian Congress
    Branch Toronto
    Mr. Mirko Bukovac


    AMCA- Quebec
    1 Woodbrooke Crt.
    Kirkland QC
    H9J 2Z3
    President: Zoran Klobucar, P. Eng.
    ++ 1 (514) 695-8145
    email: president@amcaqc.org
    web: www.amcaqc.org

    Canadian Croatian Congress
    Branch Quebec
    4990 Place de la Savane
    Montreal, Quebec, H4P 1Z6
    Mr. Domagoj Kljajo
    ph: ++ (514) 354 4441, ++ (514) 830 1983