Immediately before the American Revolution, the area that would become Upper Canada (modern-day Ontario) was largely French-speaking, having been a French colony until 1763 when the British took over. After the American Revolution, however, a large number of English-speaking loyalists migrated from the Thirteen Colonies to the area. This caused such a shift in the demographics and culture that in 1791, the British split the old Province of Quebec creating Upper Canada in order to accomodate the loyalists.

In the area that would become Upper Canada, what was the ratio of French to English speakers before the American Revolution (~1764-1774) and after the American Revolution (~1784-1790)?

I'm trying to determine how big the loyalists' impact on the language demographics really was, because to a decent extent, the relationship between English and French speakers in Canada is still an important and sometimes controversial topic.

Please cite sources, as I've had difficulty finding good sources, and many of the relevant statements in the Wikipedia pages I linked did not have citations.

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    It should also be mentioned that a large number of French speakers were expelled from the colonies during the French and Indian Wars.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 9, 2017 at 22:20
  • @T.E.D. Interesting, I was unaware of the expulsion. To be clear to other readers though, the article you linked is specifically about the expulsion of Acadians. Some of them migrated to the Upper Canada area, which would have served to increase the number of French speakers there.
    – DPenner1
    Jan 10, 2017 at 1:28
  • According to that Article, the expulsions happened all over the English colonies, from Acadia to Georgia
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:03
  • @T.E.D. Sorry, I'm not seeing that part. Could you quote an example? Because from what I can see, Georgia was a destination for those expelled rather than a place people were expelled from.
    – DPenner1
    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:18

1 Answer 1


Turns out, this question is mostly based on a false premise. Before the American Revolution, the area of Upper Canada was essentially uninhabited by Europeans [1, 2].

According to Library and Archives Canada, the population in the area was approximately 10,000 by 1791, the majority of whom were Loyalists. For comparison, "the population of Lower Canada was 160,000, of which 20,000 were English-speaking".

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