Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants

By Elinor Barr

© 2015

Since 1776, more than 100,000 Swedish-speaking immigrants have arrived in Canada from Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine, and the United States. Elinor Barr’s Swedes in Canada is the definitive history of that immigrant experience. Active in almost every aspect of Canadian life, Swedish individuals and companies are responsible for the CN Tower, ships on the Great Lakes, and log buildings in Riding Mountain National Park. They have built railways and grain elevators all across the country, as well as churches and old folks’ homes in their communities. At the national level, the introduction of cross-country skiing and the success of ParticipACTION can be attributed to Swedes.

Despite this long list of accomplishments, Swedish ethnic consciousness in Canada has often been very low. Using extensive archival and demographic research, Barr explores both the impressive Swedish legacy in Canada and the reasons for their invisibility as an immigrant community.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 576 pages
  • Illustrations: 25
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.4in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP003407

  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

    From: $29.96

    Regular Price: $39.95

    ISBN 9781442613744
  • PUBLISHED JUL 2015

    From: $29.96

    Regular Price: $39.95

Quick Overview

Using extensive archival and demographic research, Barr explores both the impressive Swedish legacy in Canada and the reasons for their invisibility as an immigrant community.

Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants

By Elinor Barr

© 2015

Since 1776, more than 100,000 Swedish-speaking immigrants have arrived in Canada from Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine, and the United States. Elinor Barr’s Swedes in Canada is the definitive history of that immigrant experience. Active in almost every aspect of Canadian life, Swedish individuals and companies are responsible for the CN Tower, ships on the Great Lakes, and log buildings in Riding Mountain National Park. They have built railways and grain elevators all across the country, as well as churches and old folks’ homes in their communities. At the national level, the introduction of cross-country skiing and the success of ParticipACTION can be attributed to Swedes.

Despite this long list of accomplishments, Swedish ethnic consciousness in Canada has often been very low. Using extensive archival and demographic research, Barr explores both the impressive Swedish legacy in Canada and the reasons for their invisibility as an immigrant community.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 576 pages
  • Illustrations: 25
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.4in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Elinor Barr’s book is a long overdue study of the history of Swedish Immigration to Canada…. It is undoubtedly an important step in understanding the significance of the Swedish immigrant experience for Canadian history.’


    Kailey Hansson
    Canadian Historical Review vol 97:02:2016

    ‘Elinor Barr provides an encyclopedic overview of Swedish immigrants to Canada… This is a comprehensive history that will be a catalyst for further inquiry.’


    Lori Ann Lahlum
    Labour/Le Travail vol 77 spring 2016

    ‘Barr’s study is the first of its kind. Eloquently written and beautifully illustrated, it is an important source of inspiration for all interested in what it meant to be a Swede in Canada in the early days of the country’s existence and up to the 1970s.’


    Jane Mattisson Ekstam
    British Journal of Canadian History vol 30:01:2017

    Swedes in Canada: Invisible Immigrants is an important contribution to the history of Swedish immigration to North America. It is the first major overview of Swedish-Canadian history, which is long overdue. It provides a comprehensive and readable discussion of many facets of the history of Swedes in Canada, and is based on detailed analyses of often elusive sources.  Elinor Barr is to be congratulated for bringing both attention and visibility to this immigrant group in the larger Canadian mosaic.”


    Dag Blanck, Director, Swedish Institute for North American Studies, Uppsala University
  • Author Information

    Elinor Barr has written extensively about Northwestern Ontario and Scandinavian immigrants in Canada. She is a research associate of the Lakehead Social History Institute at Lakehead University.
  • Table of contents

    1. Under an Invisibility Cloak

    2. Emigration from Sweden, Immigration to Canada

    3. Immigrants

    4. Settlement Patterns

    5. Religion

    6. World Wars

    7. The Swedish Press

    8. The Depression, Strikes and Unions

    9. Earning a Living

    10. A Woman’s Place

    11. Swedishness in Canada

    12. Links with Sweden

    13. Language, Discrimination and Assimilation

    14. Literature

    15. Emerging Visibility

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