The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) celebrates 153 years of Canadian Independence and all that Canada has done for Canadian refugees and immigrants throughout history. The influx of Macedonians to Canada began at the start of the twentieth century and was documented as one of the largest non-British settler groups to enter Canada at that time, as many fled Macedonia following the Ilinden Uprising of 1903. Following this, the second large wave of Macedonians entered Canada following WWII and the Civil War (1947-49). This influx lasted until the 1960s but many Macedonians have entered Canada since then. Today, Canada is home to an estimated quarter of a million Canadians of Macedonian heritage.
Canadian Macedonians are most grateful for the mutual respect shared between the Macedonian community and the Canadian government regarding the sharing of equal rights to religion, association, and expression. This cultural respect has allowed Macedonians to maintain a strong sense of community between Macedonians and Canadian citizens of all different cultures and religions. In 2018, Canada encouraged political and economic reform in Macedonia through the establishment of the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) which promotes: human and minority rights, democratic development and governance, respect for the rule of law, and public sector building. Although the Canadian government closed the Canadian International Development Agency in Macedonia in 2009, their support for Macedonians has not faltered as just a few days ago the Canadian Embassy in Belgrade donated $250,000 to Macedonian in support of COVID-19 relief. We, at UMD, believe Canada should have an Embassy in Skopje, given the historic community and the growing ties between both countries.
An important date for Macedonians in Canada looking to report their heritage and language skills comes during the Canadian Census of May 2021. Participating in the census would give a more accurate count of the Canadian Macedonian demographic which is essential to ensure that their Macedonian culture and size are recorded into the future. In short, those at UMD and Macedonians as a whole are happy to celebrate another year of Canadian Independence and the continuance of Canadian-Macedonian relations into the future.
The feature photo is a Macedonian wedding in Canada in 1918.