The 1996 Canadian census lists
351,705 Canadians who indicated Jewish as their religion. The largest
Jewish population in Canada is in Toronto with 156,300. The majority came
to Canada for political, rather than economic reasons, with the population
increasing by 200% since 1927.(12)
Following World War II, Canada opened its doors to the "Displaced
Persons" of Europe. The discrimination which had marred Canadian
immigration policy was eradicated. It was replaced with a policy which
judged potential immigrants on their individual merits, as opposed to
prejudgment based upon their ethnic or religious origin. In 1971, the
Federal Government passed a Bill which made Canada officially a multicultural
country. This was further strengthened by laws passed by the provinces.
Hiring discrimination and barring groups from higher education or denying
membership in clubs was brought to an end in the years following World
The sons and daughters of the Jewish immigrants who came to Canada have
prospered. They have become members of Parliament, the heads of businesses,
and have started their own institutions. They have contributed to the
literature of Canada with their works, helping to define Canada as a nation.
Although the survivors of the Holocaust are now elderly men and women,
the legacy of being the target of mass extermination has not disappeared.
Through the 1980's, there was an increased push to bring to justice Nazi
war criminals who slipped into Canada following the war. There are memorials,
lectures, and museums dedicated to the Holocaust and there are resources
available to the younger generation who feel anxiety that this might re-occur.(13)
Solly Lévy came to Canada for political reasons. He discovered
within the City of Montréal a vibrant culture and a quality of
life which made him feel privileged to be a Canadian. Solly Lévy
had loved the pre-1967 Morocco because of the cultural bridges which existed
between a wide and diverse ethnic community that made up this North African
Fortunately, Lévy found work in his adopted country as a teacher.
It was through this occupation and his work as a playwrite, radio host
and as a writer that he became a bridge-builder in Canada, his adopted
country. He was able to find common threads that brought both new immigrants
and old French stock together.