Across Cultures

Why did we come to Canada?

About this theme

This theme shows people talking about their decisions to immigrate to Canada. Many state that political and economic pressures were compelling.


The National Film Board of Canada does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external sites.

For links in French, visit the French version of the Web site.

African Nova Scotians (Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management)

Alberta's Online Encyclopedia (Heritage Community Foundation)
Use the pull-down menu to search for sites on Diversity.

Asia/Canada (Historica Youth Links)

Asian Heritage in Canada (Ryerson University Library)

Black Experience in Canada (Ryerson University Library)

Black History Canada (Historica Foundation)

Canada in the Making – Asian Immigration (

Canada in the Making – Pioneers and Immigrants (

Canadian Council for Refugees
An organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada.

The Canadian Immigrant Magazine

Centre for Refugee Studies (York University)

Cultures (Canadian Museum of Civilization)
Portal to the CMC’s exhibitions including Citizens: Portraits of Canadian Women of African Descent, Crossroads of Culture : 200 Years of Canadian Immigration (1800-2000), Presenza: A New Look at Italian-Canadian Heritage, The Lands within Me: Expressions by Canadian Artists of Arab Origin and Boat People No Longer: Vietnamese Canadians.

Encyclopedia of Canada’s People (The Multicultural History Society of Ontario)

Ethnic Groups Booklets from the Canadian Historical Association

Exploration and Settlement (Library and Archives Canada)
Portal to LAC’s resources on the theme, including access to Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration (1887-1908) and Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience

Germany-Canada Migration (Canadian Heritage Information Network)

Immigrant Voices
An historical overview of immigration to Canada.

The Immigration Experience (Historica YouthLinks)

The Last Best West: Advertising for Immigrants to Western Canada, 1870-1930 (Canadian Museum of Civilization)

Many Rivers to Cross: The African-Canadian Experience (Multicultural History Society of Ontario)

Multicultural Alberta (Alberta Heritage Digitization Project)

Ontario Black History Society

Our Roots, Canada’s Local Histories Online (University of Calgary, Université Laval)

Passages to Canada: The Digital Archive (The Dominion Institute)
Listen to the memories and view personal objects of immigrants and refugees to Canada.

The Peopling of Canada: 1891-1921 (The University of Calgary)

The Peopling of Canada: 1946-1976 (The University of Calgary)

“Pier 21” – Canada’s Immigration Museum

Railways and Immigration in Canada (Learn Alberta)

Remembering Black Loyalists, Black Communities in Nova Scotia (Nova Scotia Museum)

Seven Stories (Glenbow Museum)
Meet seven Calgarians, originally from Southeast Asia.

Some Missing Pages: The Black Community in the History of Canada and Quebec (Learn Quebec)

South Africans Find a Home in Canada (CBC Archives)
Four South Africans living in Canada in 1973 compare conditions in the two countries. One man says that South Africans are fearful even in Canada, because they have memories of persecution under the racist Apartheid regime. Another recommends that Canadian authorities give consideration to undocumented refugees. Legal emigration from South Africa is almost impossible, especially for black people.

Time Links (River East School Division and the University of Manitoba)
The historical web site about Manitoba in the decade from 1910 to 1920. Includes texts and photos.

The Underground Railroad in Canada (Parks Canada)

Why They Fled: The Fall of Saigon (CBC Archives)
Some 1.5 million South Vietnamese fled their country after the Fall of Saigon in 1975. On the 25th anniversary of the event, CBC uses archival footage to underscore Francis Win’s boyhood memories of the event. His once-comfortable family fled when Win’s father, a former South Vietnamese deputy premier, was released after 3 years of hard labour.