Scots in Canada

A Long and Rich History

Although often considered Anglo-Canadians, the Scots have always regarded themselves as a seperate people. The connection between Scotland and Canada dates to the 17th century. The Scots have been immigrating in steady and substantial numvers for over 200 years. In the 2006 census a total of 4 709 850 Canadians, or 15% of the population, listed themselves as of Scottish origin (single and multiple response).


The kingdom of Scotland established one of the earliest colonies in Canada in 1621, when Sir William Alexander was granted a charter for Nova Scotia. Alexander established small settlements on Cape Breton and on the Bay of FUNDY, but they did not flourish and Scottish claims were surrendered to France in 1632. A few Scots immigrated to NEW FRANCE, but the major early movement of Scots to Canada was a small flow of men from Orkney - beginning about 1720 - recruited by the HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY for service in the West. Soldiers from the Highlands of Scotland comprised the crack regiments of the British army that defeated the French in the SEVEN YEARS' WAR. Many soldiers remained in North America, and Scots merchants moved on to Quebec after 1759 where they dominated commercial life and the fur trade.