Hong Kong Canadians

Hong Kong Canadians
Total population

500,000+ (estimated)[1]

205,430 (born in Hong Kong)[2]
Regions with significant populations
 Ontario Toronto
 British Columbia Vancouver
 Alberta Calgary, Edmonton
Cantonese, English
Anglicanism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism
Related ethnic groups
Chinese Canadians, Taiwanese Canadians

Hong Kong Canadians or Canadians of Hong Kong origin (Chinese: 香港裔加拿大人 or 加拿大港人) are Canadian citizens who identify themselves to be of Hong Kong descent. The largest wave of immigration to Canada from Hong Kong occurred during the late 1980s and early 1990s, chiefly as the fear of uncertainties concerning the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997.

The vast majority of Canadians of Hong Kong origin are ethnically Chinese, though some choose to eschew their "Chinese" identity.[3] They often trace their ancestry to Cantonese, Hakka, Hoklo, and Toisan cultural groups.

Many Hong Kong Canadians hold multiple citizenships, often possessing Canadian, HKSAR, and British National (Overseas) passports. Some Hong Kong Canadians have returned to Hong Kong from Canada since 1997 and have resettled in the territory permanently. As of 2014, Hong Kong has the highest concentration of Canadian citizens in Asia, with approximately 300,000 Canadian citizens of all ethnic backgrounds living in the city.[4]

In Canada, the majority of Hong Kong Canadians reside in the metropolitan areas of Toronto and Vancouver.


The majority of Chinese Canadians migrated to Canada from the mid 1980s to 2000. However early settlement could be traced back to the early 19th Century when Hong Kong became a British crown colony, natives from Kwangtong (now Guangdong) escaped and settled in Hong Kong for a short while before migrating to North America.

In 1984, the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed which largely shaped the future politics and economy of Hong Kong. The then British colony would become a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. Many people in Hong Kong at the time perceived a negative image of the China's government which was largely influenced by their experience with the illegal immigrants from the Canton province who smuggled into Hong Kong in the hope of finding freedom and better living standard than the lives ruled by the Chinese Communists.

The fear of losing their freedom and prosperity under the China's government drove the Hong Kong citizens to despise their own Chinese identity. Their fear and worries were proved to be correct by the 1989 Tiananmen Square Crackdown which later drove a large emigration wave to the anglophone world between 1980's to early 2000's. One of the most popular destination chosen by the immigrants was Canada, where thousands of Hongkongers settled in Greater Toronto and Metro Vancouver.


In 2006, among the 790,035 speakers of any of the varieties of Chinese, 300,590 were speakers of Cantonese.[5] According to 2001 statistics, 44% of the Cantonese speakers were born in Hong Kong, 27% were born in Guangdong, the Chinese province where most Hongkongers have their ancestral roots, and 18% were Canadian-born.[6]

During the 2000s, some Canadian citizens from Hong Kong and their descendants have returned to Hong Kong for job opportunities. There are estimated to be as many as 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong.[7] Conversely, according to the Canadian Consulate General in Hong Kong, there are 500,000 people of Hong Kong descent in Canada.[8] Hong Kong boasts one of the largest Canadian communities abroad (an estimated 295,000). This community, along with some 500,000 people of Hong Kong descent in Canada, plays a dynamic role in building vibrant bilateral relations between Canada and Hong Kong.

Canada's presence in Hong Kong is also reflected by the presence of Hong Kong-Canadian associations, such as the Chinese Canadian Association, established in 1989 and the Canadian University Association, which now acts as an umbrella group for some twenty Canadian university alumni associations active in Hong Kong today.

Notable people

See also


  1. "Canada-Hong Kong Relations". Consulate of Canada in Hong Kong.
  2. "NHS Profile, Canada, 2011;".
  3. Wong, Edward; Wong, Alan (Oct 7, 2014). "Seeking Identity, 'Hong Kong People' Look to City, Not State". The New York Times.
  4. Keung, Nicholas (February 24, 2011). "Hong Kong: Asia's most Canadian city". The Toronto Star.
  5. The 790,035 figure includes 300,590 persons listed as speaking Cantonese, 143,385 listed as speaking Mandarin, 4,580 listed as speaking Taiwanese, and 341,480 speaking other varieties, or else simply filling out the relevant question on their census forms by noting "Chinese" without being more specific. See Statistics Canada, 2006 Census Profile of Federal Electoral Districts (2003 Representation Order): Language, Mobility and Migration and Immigration and Citizenship. Ottawa, 2007, p. 8 and note no. 1 on p. 503.
  6. "Chinese Canadians: Enriching the cultural mosaic," Canadian Social Trends, Spring 2005, no. 76
  7. "中國評論新聞:香港住了30萬加拿大人 成加國第16大城市". chinareviewnews.com.
  8. "Canada-Hong Kong Relations". canadainternational.gc.ca.

Further reading

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