Every year thousands of people come to Canada to begin a new life. They come with many different skills and the hope of contributing to their new society. Your interest in Scotland may arise from your involvement in the HOST Program, which provides assistance to newcomers. You may have Scots colleagues at work or Scottish students at your school. This website will introduce you to Scotland and its culture.

The Scots have been immigrating to Canada since the 17th century. The name of the Canadian province Nova Scotia means "New Scotland," because many Scots settled there. Scottish immigrants, particularly men from the Orkney Islands, were recruited to work for the Hudson's Bay Company in its early days. In the 19th century, the Scots dominated Canadian banking, fur trading, logging and railway management. Many of Canada's early political leaders were born in Scotland or descended from Scots families. Today, most Scottish people come to Canada to work or to study at a Canadian university.

The decision to make a new home in a different country is not an easy one. People must leave family, friends and familiar surroundings. Scots who come to Canada will want to know the same things you would if you moved to a new place. Where can I find a place to live? Which school will my children attend? How will I get around in my new community? How do I find a job? You can help new immigrants by answering their questions. You can also learn from them.

Although this cultural profile provides insight into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Scotland.

   Did you know?
Canada's first two prime ministers, Sir John A. MacDonald and Alexander Mackenzie, were born in Scotland.
   Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Scotland
Capital Edinburgh
Type of Government Constitutional Monarchy
Population 5 million
Area 78,000 sq. km.
Major Ethnic Group Scottish, Irish, English, East Indian, Italian, Polish
Languages English, Gaelic
Religions Protestantism, Roman Catholicism
Unit of Currency Pound sterling
National Flag A white diagonal cross on a dark blue background

   Did you know?
In the early 19th century, Gaelic, the language of the highland Scots, was the third most common European language spoken in Canada. Today, Gaelic is still spoken in parts of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.