Italian citizens immigrated to Canada en masse in the 19th century seeking economic and social opportunities beyond what was available in their native country. Although Italians did move to Canada in smaller numbers before the 19th century, they mainly did so accidentally as either captives or as a result of being driven ashore en route to the United States by storms and natural events.
In the nineteenth century, however, Italians began to migrate to Canada in search of economic prosperity and social freedom. At first, many sought work as physical laborers in fields such as mining and the coal industry.
By the early 1900s, there was a well-established community of Italian immigrants living in Canada. They congregated primarily in the cities of Montreal and Toronto and formed communities in the surrounding suburbs.
A large number of the earliest Italian migrants were successful in achieving a better socioeconomic status and encouraged family and friends to join them. Eventually, the number of Italian migrants outnumbered the quantity of jobs available in the fields of mining and physical labor, and although there was a period of general misfortune among Italian migrants, newcomers quickly found work opportunities in other areas, including music and the food industry.