Government of Canada honours national historic significance of the Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution

News release

June 1, 2019                                                               Toronto, Ontario                                                           Parks Canada Agency


In 1956 and 1957, Canada received more than 37,500 refugees who fled Hungary after Soviet troops marched on Budapest to crush a revolution that sought political reform and independence from the Soviet Union. Spurred by popular sympathy, the Canadian government acted quickly to select, transport, and resettle people in cooperation with non-profit organizations; a successful and unprecedented process which later established an important model for the reception of future refugees to Canada.


Today, Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, and Member of Parliament for Parkdale – High Park, commemorated the national historic significance of the Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution with a special ceremony to unveil a plaque at Budapest Park. The park is known locally as the heart of the Hungarian community in Toronto. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna.


The repression of this uprising generated the largest wave of refugees since the months following the end of the Second World War. In only three months, almost 200,000 Hungarians - about 2% of the population of Hungary - sought refuge from the Communist regime. In response to this crisis, Canada provided assistance to Hungarian refugees with measures such as simplifying admission of immigrants, negotiating Hungarian escape from camps, providing for the needs of refugees upon arrival to Canada, and assuming most of the associated costs of resettling. Since then, the refugees have gone on to make significant contributions to economic and cultural life across Canada.


The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people, places, and events that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians and youth connect with their past. The commemoration process is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,000 designations have been made.


Quotes

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of the arrival of the Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. In 1956, the Canadian government set up an important model for the reception of refugees to our country that we continue to uphold today. Historic designations reflect Canada’s rich and varied history, our multiculturalism and our diversity. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the Refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and their important contributions to Canada’s heritage.


Arif Virani,
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, and Member of Parliament for Parkdale – High Park          

Quick facts

  • The influx of Hungarian refugees into Canada fueled a cultural movement that saw an increase in social clubs, artistic performance, new publications, and sporting events based in the Hungarian community.

  • Many of the Hungarian refugees were young and educated, resulting in the expansion of Canada’s economy as they contributed their skills to the Canadian workforce.

  • The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019.

  • Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people and events that have marked Canada’s history.

  • To date, based on recommendations from the HSMBC, the Government of Canada has designated over 2,150 national historic sites, events, and persons. Each of these designations contributes its own unique story to the greater story of Canada, and helps us better understand our country and our identity.

Related products

Associated links

Contacts

Brett Levitt
Southwestern Ontario Field Unit
289-969-3279
brett.levitt@canada.ca


Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca


Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: