Finland 100 Submissions Committee

Family Stories: Finnish Immigration to Sudbury

As members of the Finnish Canadian Historical Society of Sudbury, we represent a broad spectrum of Finnish immigration to Canada. These family recollections are examples of three waves of immigration. The first wave occurred in the mid to late 19th century as Finnish people fled Tsarist Russia and brutal conditions of peasant life. Canada offered lots of new land for farming and the job prosperity that booming logging and mining industries promised. The second wave of Finnish emigration was a result of the turmoil of the newly independent Finnish nation. Around the time of independence, struggles between Communist factions and Christian right caused rifts in Finnish society and many chose to come to Canada. The third wave of Finnish emigration arrived after the Second World War. People left the struggles of post war Europe to come to Canada for jobs and a secure life. Our family stories bring together the histories of our two countries as we form a bridge between the two nations.


Our family stories represent three waves of Finnish immigration to Canada. Historically, we span almost the entire 150 years since confederation of this country. Finns came here before Finnish independence and after. We came for a home and for freedom and better lives. We brought our northern Finnish skills and knowhow for working with the land. We farmed, logged and mined alongside people from all over the World. Our hard work and ingenuity helped to build this country literally from the ground up. We have taken our place in all aspects of Canadian society. Finnish descendants have prospered and multiplied reaching all across this new nation. Still, as Finnish Canadians we can celebrate both this homeland of Canada and the other homeland of Finland, the one that bred us to be who we are. We are fortunate to have both.