Macedonian Canadians - History


Many Macedonians emigrated to Canada as "pečalbari" (seasonal workers) in the mid 19th and early 20th century. Thousands of Macedonians emigrated to Canada after the failure of the Ilinden Uprising. The first Macedonian organizations were the Zhelevo Benevolence Brotherhood and the Oschima Benefit Society "St. Nicholas", both established in 1907 in Toronto by emigrants from Zhelevo (Antartiko) and Oschnima (Trigonon) in Aegean Macedonia. Other Macedonian organizations were soon established by emigrants from Zagorichani (Vassiliada), Oshtima (Trigonon), Smardesh (Krystallopigi), Gabresh (Gavros), Banitsa (Vevi), Buf (Akritas) and Tarsie (Trivuno), all villages in Aegean Macedonia. An Internal Census counted 1910 Macedonians in Toronto, who were principally from Florina (Lerin) and Kastoria (Kostur) in Aegean Macedonia. In 1910 they established Sts. Cyril and Methody Macedono-Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Toronto. By 1940 there were claims that over 1200 Macedonian families were in Canada. Post World War II and Greek Civil War migration cause the numbers of Macedonians in Canada to swell. Many early Macedonian immigrants found industrial work in Toronto, either as factory hands or labourers in abattoirs, or in iron and steel foundries. Many ended up running and owning restaurants, butchers and groceries. 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. Today, most Macedonian Canadians have moved out of cities and into the suburbs, and are employed in the professional, clerical, and service sector of the economy. The 2001 census recorded 31,265 Macedonians, while the 2006 census recorded 37,705 people of Macedonian Ancestry. Although Community Spokesperson's claim they number over 100,000. The "Institute for Macedonian's Abroad" claims that there are 120,000 Macedonians in Canada. The Macedonian Government estimates that there are 150,000 Macedonians in Canada.

In the first half of the 20th century, most of the Macedonians were largely classified as Bulgarians or Macedono-Bulgarians. At that time the political organization by the Slavic immigrants from the region of Macedonia - the Macedonian Patriotic Organization has also promoted the idea of Macedonian Slavs being Bulgarians.

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