The Dutch have settled in Canada in 3 main periods. During the first, from 1890 to 1914, Dutch immigrants joined the migration to the Canadian West to take up homestead and railway lands, helping to open the PRAIRIES and establishing ethnic settlements such as New Nijverdal (now Monarch, Alta), Neerlandia (Alta) and Edam (Sask). The majority of the immigrants were scattered across the West either as farmhands or farm or ranch owners. Some settlement concentrations did occur, however, particularly in and around Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Indeed, Winnipeg probably had the largest Dutch community in Canada prior to the First World War.
The second period of immigration, from 1923 to 1930, ended with the coming of the Depression. Cheap, accessible arable land was in shorter supply, but the demand for farm, construction and industrial or domestic labour was high, particularly as the postwar recession came to an end. Dutch immigrants moved quickly to take up these opportunities across Canada, particularly in Ontario and the western provinces. During this period significant concentrations of Dutch immigrants settled in southern and southwestern Ontario, especially in Toronto. It is estimated that between 1890 and 1930 approximately 25 000 Dutch or Dutch American immigrants entered Canada.
The Great Depression and the Second World War curtailed Dutch immigration until 1947, when tens of thousands began to flee from a war-devastated and economically ruined homeland. Initially the immigrants, as in the past, came from the agricultural sectors, but by the mid-1950s they included many skilled and professional workers. Ontario became a particularly important destination, followed by Alberta, British Columbia and the Maritimes. By the late 1960s some 150 000 Dutch immigrants were well established in all provinces (with the exception of Newfoundland), but particularly in Ontario and the urban areas of the western provinces. These communities served as beacons of welcome and attraction for later Dutch immigrants.