Between 1975 and 1976, Canada admitted 5,608 Vietnamese immigrants. In 1979 and 1980, another 50,000 people from Vietnam, refugees who later became known as the "Boat People," settled in Canada. Unlike earlier groups of Vietnamese immigrants, the "Boat People" were internally diverse: they included a variety of social classes and both urban and rural dwellers. The majority did not speak English or French and had no relatives in Canada. They also arrived during a period of economic downturn in Canada. These factors led to a struggle to integrate in Canada and to achieve economic independence. They also settled in many places in Canada where there was previously no Vietnamese community. The largest groups are in Toronto and Montreal, with significant communities in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
This collection chronicles the lives, struggles, and achievements of the "Boat People" and those who assisted them. It includes hundreds of hours of oral history interviews conducted by volunteers, community members, and professionals. The interviews cover the topics of migration from Vietnam to Canada, and life in both countries, including their adaptation to Canadian society and their links to Vietnamese traditions and religious practices. Approximately 30 per cent of the content is in English and 70 per cent is in Vietnamese.
Collection contributed by: Multicultural History Society of Ontario