Global True Lithuania Lithuanian communities and heritage worldwide

Montreal, Quebec

Canada's second largest city Montreal attracted many Lithuanian refugees after World War 2. They have constructed patriotically-named churches that remain community hubs even today, making Montreal the world's only Francophone city to have sizeable Lithuanian heritage.

Tall spire of St. Casimir Lithuanian church rises above an old townhouse district (address: 3426 Parthenais). The parish is 100 year old however the church is more modern, having been expanded after the post-WW2 influx of Lithuanian refugees.

St. Casimir Lithuanian church in Montreal. Google Street View.

Southern Montreal (1465 Rue de Seve) hosts the mid-20th century Our Lady of Vilnius church. It is towerless, of rectangular proportions and a Lithuanian credit union is nearby. The church interior has Three Crosses (a copy of the famous Vilnius monument) behind its altar.

Our Lady of Vilnius church in Montreal. Google Street View.

Like elsewhere in Canada first Lithuanians settled in Quebec after USA curbed migration before World War 1. However their numbers extremely swelled after Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union and refugees fled to the West, including Canada. Protests for the Lithuanian independence became regular events. Lithuanians achieved that one street of terrace homes in Montreal LaSalle district would be renamed after Lithuania (Rue Lithuania).

Rue Lithuania in Montreal. Google Street View.

Canada is a bilingual state: most of its provinces are English-speaking (former colonies of England). However Quebec (where Montreal is located) has been initially a French colony and has French as official language. Sings on the Lithuanian churches are thus bilingual (Lithuanian and French) and Montreal Lithuanians are the only sizeable Lithuanian community in a French-speaking land (most Lithuanian diaspora is in English, Spanish or Portuguese speaking areas). However the majority of Montreal Lithuanians speak better English than French, Montreal Lithuanian website is also available in just Lithuanian and English. After all, English itself is the second language to older Lithuanians, making French more difficult to master well. Moreover, Englush is moree important in Canada (and North America) as a whole.

After the increase of separatist ideas in Quebec which led to increased requirements to speak French in many jobs some of the Montreal Lithuanians migrated to Ontario.

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