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Buddhism in Canada

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Title: Buddhism in Canada  
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Buddhism in Canada

Buddhism is among the smallest minority-religions in Canada, with a very slowly growing population in the country, partly the result of conversion, with only 4.6% of new immigrants identifying themselves as Buddhist.[1] As of 2001, the census recorded 300,345 Canadian Buddhists[2] (about 1% of the population).

Buddhism has been practised in Canada for more than a century. Buddhism arrived in Canada with the arrival of Chinese labourers in the territories during the 19th century.[3] Modern Buddhism in Canada traces to Japanese immigration during the late 19th century.[3] The first Japanese Buddhist temple in Canada was built at the Ishikawa Hotel in

  • 2012 edition of the Sumeru directory of Canadian Buddhist organizations
  • Sumeru Canadian Buddhist news blog
  • Early history of Japanese in Canada
  • Buddhactivity Dharma Centres database
  • Toronto's Yoga, Meditation and Wellness Community
  • Buddhist Education Foundation for Canada
  • History of Kampo Gangra Drubgyudling in Toronto

External links

  1. ^ 1991 & 2001 Canadian Census data, summarized and displayed as a bar-chart at the following blog:
  2. ^ a b Population by religion, by province and territory (2001 Census)
  3. ^ a b c d The Canadian Encyclopedia: Buddhism
  4. ^ A Journalist's Guide to Buddhism
  5. ^ (1) Prof. Frances Garret & (2) Prof. Christoph Emmrich. &
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ John S. Harding, Victor Sogen Hori and Alexander Soucy (2010). Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada. McGill-Queen's University Press.  
  11. ^ "Non-Christian prison chaplains chopped by Ottawa".  


  • Harding, John, Victor Sogen Hori and Alexander Soucy, Eds. Wild Geese: Buddhism in Canada (2010)
  • Harding, John, Victor Sogen Hori and Alexander Soucy, Eds. Flowers on the Rock: Local and Global Buddhisms in Canada (2014)
  • Matthews, Bruce, Ed. Buddhism in Canada (2006)
  • McLellan, Janet Many Petals of the Lotus: Five Asian Buddhist Communities in Toronto (1999)

Further reading

See also

Prison statistics for the year 2011 indicated that 2% of inmates are Buddhist in Canada's federal prison system.[11]

Prison population

Province Buddhists
 Ontario 163,750
 British Columbia 90,620
 Quebec 52,390
 Alberta 44,410
 Manitoba 6,770
 Saskatchewan 4,265
 Nova Scotia 2,205
 New Brunswick 975
 Newfoundland and Labrador 400
 Northwest Territories 170
 Prince Edward Island 560
 Yukon 290
 Nunavut 20
Canada 366,830

The Buddhist Population in Canada according to the 2011 Census.[2]

Buddhist population


  • Buddhist population 1
  • Prison population 2
  • See also 3
  • Further reading 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Various immigrant and refugee populations (Chinese, Tibetan, Lao, Japanese, Korean, Burmese/Myanmar, and Vietnamese) have tried to replicate or maintain their traditions in Canada, while small numbers of Canadians of non-Asian ancestry have also been converting to Buddhism.[10]

Although the temples constructed by immigrant communities in the major cities are more visible (e.g., the Sinhalese "Maha-Vihara" of Toronto),[8] there are also examples of small Buddhist temples constructed by immigrants and refugees in Canada's smaller cities, such as Regina, Saskatchewan's tiny Lao temple.[9]

There are now close to 500 Buddhist organizations in Canada, including temples, centres, associations, retreats, charities, businesses, etc. All lineages (Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana and Novayana newer schools) are represented. The following universities in Canada have incorporated Buddhist Studies either as a sub-discipline of religious studies, or as a subsidiary to Asian Studies: the University of Toronto has two professors specialized in Buddhism,[5] and the University of Calgary also maintains two professorships related to Buddhism.[6] Smaller universities in Canada will typically have just one professor assigned to Buddhism (sometimes the same professor responsible for all Asian Religions) as, e.g., at the U. of Lethbridge.[7]

A substantial expansion of Buddhism in Canada began in the last half of the 20th century. Changes in Canadian immigration and refugee policies corresponded to increasing communities from Sri Lanka, Japan, and Southeast Asian nations with Buddhist traditions. In addition, the popularity and goodwill ushered in by Tibet's Dalai Lama (who has been made an honorary Canadian citizen) put Buddhism in a favourable light. Many non-Asian Canadians (Namgyal Rinpoche, Glenn H. Mullin, and Richard Barron for instance) have embraced Buddhism in various traditions and some have become leaders in their respective sanghas.


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