At the turn of the 19th
century, one of the largest groups of non-British settlers to arrive in
Canada were villagers from the Balkan mountains, then part of the
Turkish Empire. These early residents (and their descendants) call
themselves Macedonians. They speak Macedonian, and have their own social
and economic institutions including churches, fraternal and self-help
organizations, and community-based enterprise, mainly in Metropolitan
Toronto and the southern Ontario region.
Migration and Settlement
The majority of Macedonians who migrated to Canada arrived in the
aftermath of the Illinden Uprising of 1903 - a heroic but unsuccessful
attempt by Macedonians to end Ottoman domination.
An internal group census in 1910 found about 1090 Macedonians in
Toronto, principally from the provinces of Kostur (Kastoria) and Lerin (Florina),
areas which were once important vilayets of the Ottoman Empire but are
now identified as portions of northern Greece. By 1940 readers of
various Macedonian political and nationalist almanacs were informed that
there were upwards of 1200 families in Toronto.
The exodus of Macedonians from northern Greece was to continue in the
aftermath of WWII and the Greek Civil War (1947-49). Immigration from
Vardar (formerly Yugoslav) Macedonia and Pirin Macedonia in Bulgaria
also began in the postwar period. This exodus gained momentum in the
1960s and continues to the present. Government indices of population are
not helpful in determining the size of the community because Macedonians
fell under the general heading of those from Turkey, Greece, Serbia (or
Yugoslavia) and Bulgaria.
The most recent Canadian census (1996), which provides for
self-declaration of ethnic origin records 30 915 Macedonians in Canada -
the sum total of individuals making single- or multiple-group responses.
Centered in Metropolitan Toronto, small groups of Macedonians could also
be found elsewhere in Ontario in Cambridge, Guelph, Hamilton,
Kitchener/Waterloo, Markham, Mississauga, Newmarket, Niagara Falls, St
Catharines, Thornhill, Thorold and Windsor. Community spokespersons
believe that there are actually 100-150 000 Macedonians in Canada.
Many early Macedonian immigrants found industrial work in Toronto,
either as factory hands or labourers in abattoirs, local sheet metal
industries, or iron and steel foundries. From these jobs, they quickly
progressed to the ownership of a great number of restaurants, grocery
stores and butcher shops. Macedonian entrepreneurs and their descendants
eventually employed their numerical strength within the food service
industry as a catapult into a variety of larger and more sophisticated
ventures. The majority of Macedonians today are employed in the
professional, clerical and service sector of the economy.
Celebrates the United Macedonian's Anniversary
The United Macedonians annual Gotse
Delchev Evening, held in the year of the 50th Jubilee of the
organization took place on Saturday February 7, in the Clement Room of
the Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral St. Clement of Ohrid in Toronto. The
500 attendees were honoured with the presence of the Prime Minister of
Canada, The Right Honourable, Stephen Harper. Mr. Harper is the first
Canadian Prime Minister to attend an event organized by the United
Macedonians or to visit the first and largest Macedonian cathedral in