Northern Wilds Magazine

Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants

By Elinor Barr
University of Toronto Press, $35.95

After eight years of extensive research, historian-author Elinor Barr from Thunder Bay has written a definitive history of the Swedish immigrant experience in Canada, with a section on American Swedes. The book opens with the statement, “Since 1776, more than 100,000 Swedish-speaking immigrants have arrived in Canada from Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine and the United States.” And they have left their mark on Canada, from introducing cross-country skiing to Canada to building Toronto’s CN tower.

Of particular interest is Elinor’s focus on the life experiences of women immigrants starting over in a new land. The chapter, “The Woman’s Place” tells of a young woman immigrant who “cried in 1895 when she saw the small, lonely cabin in Scandinavia, Manitoba, that would be her new home.

Swedes in Canada is available at various Thunder Bay locations.Elle Andra-Warner


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