The ties between Italy and Canada date back to the time of the Great Explorers (after the Vikings, Giovanni Caboto was the first European to set foot on the shores of Newfoundland, in 1497.) The large waves of Italian immigration to Canada that began during the second half of the 19th century further enriched these ties, which were strengthened by the significant role of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Italian Campaign during World War II (most particularly at the Battle of Ortona in December 1943.) In recent decades, the two countries continue to participate jointly in international operations such as the ISAF mission in Afghanistan and most recently as part of the coalition fighting Daesh.
A defining element of the bilateral relationship, which today includes a broad network of trade relations, industrial cooperation and important cooperation in science and academics is the presence of a large and dynamic Italian-Canadian community. Today over 131,000 Italian citizens make Canada their home, while 1.5 million Canadians (over 4% of the total population) identify themselves as being of Italian heritage. Within the framework of Canada’s multicultural model, Italian-Canadians are present in all sectors of society (politics, business, media, culture, and sports) and are an example for communities of recent immigrants.
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