Canadians (singular Canadian; French: Canadiens) are the people who are identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be genetic, residential, legal, historical, cultural or ethnic. For most Canadians, several (frequently all) of those types of connections exist and are the source(s) of them being considered Canadians.

Aboriginal peoples, according to the 2006 Canadian Census, numbered at 1,172,790, 3.8% of the country's total population. The majority of the population is made up of Old World immigrants and their descendants. After the initial period of French and then the much larger British colonization, different waves (or peaks) of immigration and settlement of non-aboriginal peoples took place over the course of nearly two centuries and continues today. Elements of Aboriginal, French, British and more recent immigrant customs, languages and religions have combined to form the culture of Canada and thus a Canadian identity. Canada has also been strongly influenced by that of its linguistic, geographic and economic neighbour, the United States.

Canadian independence from Great Britain grew gradually over the course of many years since the formation of the Canadian Confederation in 1867. World War I and World War II in particular gave rise to a desire amongst Canadians to have their country recognized as a fully-fledged sovereign state with a distinct citizenship. Legislative independence was established with the passage of the Statute of Westminster 1931, the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946 took effect on January 1, 1947, and full sovereignty was achieved with the patriation of the constitution in 1982. Canada's nationality law closely mirrored that of the United Kingdom. Legislation since the mid 20th century represents Canadians' commitment to multilateralism and socioeconomic development.

Read more about Canadians:  Population, Culture

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Famous quotes containing the word canadians:

    The impression made on me was that the French Canadians were even sharing the fate of the Indians, or at least gradually disappearing in what is called the Saxon current.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    The Canadians of those days, at least, possessed a roving spirit of adventure which carried them further, in exposure to hardship and danger, than ever the New England colonist went, and led them, though not to clear and colonize the wilderness, yet to range over it as coureurs de bois, or runners of the woods, or, as Hontan prefers to call them, coureurs de risques, runners of risks; to say nothing of their enterprising priesthood.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)