The Vietnamese Cultural Centre will soon present a documentary on a chapter in Canada’s history. Its production was made possible thanks to the financial support of Canadian Heritage.
This chapter begins fifty years ago, in August 1973, when the Canadian government under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau established diplomatic relations with Vietnam. During the 1975-1985 decade, Canada welcomed a huge wave of refugees, the boat people, for whom the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees awarded the Nansen Medal in 1986. Over the following decades, Canada continued to receive thousands of immigrants from Vietnam.
Canada opened its first diplomatic representation in Vietnam in 1991, and an embassy in Hanoi in 1994. In 1995, a Canadian consulate opened in Saigon, renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Since then, the two countries have developed bilateral and multilateral relations. During this time, the Canadian-Vietnamese community has continued to grow, diversify and develop. Today, Nguyen is the second most common family name in the Montreal Urban Community, second only to Tremblay.
Photo: Governor General Jeanne-Sauvé receives the Nansen Medal on behalf of Canadians (Canadian Immigration Historical Society archives).