About the Project
Although Swedish-Canadians are generally modest, most will agree that the Swedish legacy is a rich one deserving of celebration. A large number of books has already been written about Swedish-Americans and a few about Swedes in North America, but the only ones published so far in Canada are local histories and sections in national works, such as Canada's People. No book deals exclusively with the Swedish experience in Canada, except for one bibliography. This project has produced the first comprehensive history of Swedish people in Canada, thereby establishing a permanent record of the impact of Swedes and their descendants. The definition of Swedes includes Swedish-speakers from Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Ukraine and the United States.
During the past century and a quarter some hundred thousand Swedes immigrated to Canada, settling for the most part in western Canada. Their experiences are covered from Atlantic to Pacific and in the north, from the beginning of immigration to the 21st century. Experiences such as the push and pull factors that led to immigration, settlement patterns, the part that religion played in their lives, involvement in the two World Wars and the Spanish Civil War, the lively Swedish press, the continuous search for employment, the role of women, involvement in strikes and unions, and various events that furthered the cause of Swedishness within the sea of other immigrants.The manuscript also includes a section on Swedish place names in Canada, an entire chapter on literature written by Swedes about Canada including a relatively unknown literary genre, and a special section on Swedish hockey players, written by Charles Wilkins.
As part of the project Ernie Epp of the Lakehead Social History Institute was granted federal funding to produce a demographic report, based on the Census of Canada, entitled Nordic People in Canada 1871-2001. The Lakehead Social History Institute also arranged for Lakehead University to issue income tax receipts for financial donations, including those who commemorated immigrant ancestors born in Sweden under the Honour the Pioneers program. Don Sjoberg coordinated fundraising for Elinor's book, all of which came from Swedish organizations and individuals in Canada, Sweden and the United States. The total raised amounted to more than $65,000.