Jew or Juif? Jews, French Canadians, and Anglo-Canadians, 1759-1914

Jew or Juif? Jews, French Canadians, and Anglo-Canadians, 1759-1914

Jew or Juif? Jews, French Canadians, and Anglo-Canadians, 1759-1914

Jew or Juif? Jews, French Canadians, and Anglo-Canadians, 1759-1914

Excerpt

Jews have lived in the province of Quebec for more than two centuries. Montreal's was the first organized Jewish community in Canada; and from those earliest days it has occupied a position similar to that of New York among American Jewry, London among British Jewry, or Warsaw in pre-World War II Poland. For most of the period between 1759 and 1914 Montreal was Canada's largest city. It was the port of disembarkation for many immigrants, who then settled in the city. Throughout the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth Montreal was the unchallenged commercial and manufacturing center of Canada, a city that offered opportunity to newcomers, especially those, like Jews, who possessed skills needed by its burgeoning businesses and industries.

A significant proportion of Canada's Jews has always lived in Montreal. In 1851, after almost a century of Jewish settlement in Canada, 181 of the country's 354 Jews lived in the metropolis and another 51 in the smaller centers of Quebec and Trois Rivières, altogether about two- thirds of the Jews in British North America. In 1921, the first census year after the close of the period to be reviewed here, 45,014 of Canada's 125,445 Jews were in Montreal, with another 2,444 elsewhere in the province of Quebec. Despite a great increase in the country's Jewish . . .

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