CBC Digital Archives

1960: Canada celebrates two millionth immigrant since 1945

media clip
Yesterday, Annette Toft was just a 16-year-old girl aboard an ocean liner bound for Canada and a new life. Today, she's an instant celebrity. On Dec. 3, 1960, Toft happens to be Canada's two millionth immigrant since the end of the Second World War. When she arrives in Quebec City, she's greeted by cameras, reporters and -- best of all -- her father, who arrived two months earlier. As we see in this short CBC Television News item, this is a trip her family had been planning for decades.
• Immigration to Canada began with the settlement of Western Canada at the end of the 19th century. Immigrants from the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States were offered free land to make the move.

• A huge boom in immigration occurred before the First World War, peaking at over 400,000 immigrants arriving in 1913. By 1945 the number had dropped to just 22,722.

• In 1928 Canada opened Pier 21 in Halifax, creating an Atlantic gateway to Canada for new immigrants. From 1928 to 1971 over a million people came through Pier 21.

• Immigration plummeted during the Great Depression years, bottoming out at just 11,277 people -- the lowest number since Confederation. In this period of widespread unemployment, the federal government passed restrictive legislation to seal off Canada from immigration and refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.

• During and after the Second World War, about 48,000 war brides and 22,000 of their children immigrated to Canada. In the 1950s, 1.5 million people came to Canada from Europe.

• Annette Toft was one of 104,111 immigrants to Canada in 1960. (Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Facts and Figures 2004.)

• In 1962 the federal government tabled immigration regulations to eliminate all discrimination based on race, religion and national origin.

• According to Statistics Canada, there were 170,780 ethnic Danes living in Canada in 2001.

Also on December 3:
1887: "Saturday Night" magazine is founded in Toronto by Edmund E. Sheppard. It suspends and restarts publication several times, most recently on October 20, 2005.
1917: the Quebec Bridge opens over the St. Lawrence River. At 987 metres in length, it's the world's longest cantilever span.
1960: Edmonton International Airport is officially opened. It's the fifth busiest airport in Canada.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Dec. 6, 1960
Guest(s): Annette Toft
Duration: 0:32

Last updated: October 22, 2014

Page consulted on October 22, 2014

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