April 7 – April 10 marks this year’s Easter weekend in Canada, including Good Friday and Easter Monday.
Easter is a holiday celebrated by people of the Christian faith around the world, commemorating the belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Canada, 19.3 million Canadians reported a Christian religion according to the 2021 census. This accounts for just over half (53%) of the entire country’s population.
Marked by traditional events such as Easter egg hunts, parades, festivals and church services, there are a variety of ways that people mark this holiday around this country.
How do Canadians celebrate Easter weekend?
People across all of Canada celebrate Easter in a similar fashion as many other parts of the world.Beginning on Good Friday, which lands on April 7 this year, many cities across Canada kick off the holiday festivities with fun events for the whole family, a parade and/or an Easter egg hunt.
In Canada’s most populated province of Ontario, for example, the Yorkminster Baptist Church in Toronto is holding a Good Friday concert at 4 pm. On Saturday, there is an Easter Egg hunt being held at Blue Mountain Park for residents of Coquitlam, British Columbia. Finally, on Monday, The Beaches – a neighbourhood around 20 minutes East of downtown Toronto – will be home to their annual Toronto Beaches Lions Easter parade to conclude the holiday weekend following a morning that many Christians spend at church.
The above is just a small sample of the Easter weekend events that take place across Canada this weekend. Events like these can be experienced by Canadians and newcomers across the country starting this Friday.
Christianity in Canada
Canada’s widespread Easter celebrations are a product of the country’s majority Christian population. As noted earlier, 53% of Canadians report an association with a Christian religion as of 2021.
This portion of the Canadian population has actually decreased over time, having stood at 77.1% in 2001 and 67.3% in 2011. This decrease is largely due to the fact that more immigrants are coming to Canada from predominantly non-Christian countries and that immigration is making up a larger-than-ever portion of the total population in this country.
As of 2021, immigrants to Canada account for 23% of the total population. Further, last year, immigration was the leading force behind Canada’s 1.05-million-person population growth in 2022 alone. In fact, it is reported that 95.9% of “Canada’s population growth last year was a product of international migration.”
According to the latest available national census data (2021), Canada’s top 10 recent immigrant (landed between 2016 and 2021) source countries include six countries where the primary religion is something other than Christianity.
Note: The following data is current as of March 2023, courtesy of the CIA and The World Factbook
In India, the source of most (18.6%) of recent Canadian immigrants, almost 79.8% of the population practice Hinduism. Folk religions are estimated to be the top religious affiliations in China (21.9%). China was the third leading source country of recent Canadian immigrants at 8.9%.
This list continues as follows, as of 2023. Each bullet will list a country alongside its portion of recent Canadian immigrants, its top religion, and the percentage of people practicing said religion.
- Syria (4.8%) – 87% Muslim
- Nigeria (3.0%) – 53.5% Muslim
- Pakistan (2.7%) – 96.5% Muslim
- Iran (1.9%) – 99.6% Muslim
Getting involved with Easter celebrations regardless of religion
As Canada’s Christian population decreases and more people immigrate here from non-Christian countries, it is important to understand that Canada does not restrict people of other religions from taking part in Easter celebrations. While non-Christian Canadians are unlikely to participate in religious Easter celebrations such as a church service, Canada’s multicultural society encourages people from all backgrounds to share in the joys of Easter weekend, from attending a parade to participating in an Easter egg hunt.