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People, Religion

largest denominations, Hutterites, Congregationalists, Prairie provinces, New Age Movement

Most Canadians are Christians (83.3 percent in the 1991 census), although a rapidly growing number have no religious affiliation (12.5 percent). The remainder practice non-Christian Eastern religions, Judaism, indigenous traditions, or other forms of belief such as the New Age Movement. The Roman Catholic Church is by far the largest single denomination, representing 45.2 percent of the Canadian population in the 1991 census; approximately half of Roman Catholics live in Quebec. The great majority of French Canadians are Roman Catholics. The next two largest denominations in 1991 were the United Church of Canada, formed in the 1920s through a merger of Methodists, Congregationalists, and most Presbyterians (11.5 percent), and the Anglican Church (8.1 percent). Other significant religions in Canada were Baptist (2.5 percent); Presbyterian (2.4 percent); Lutheran (2.4 percent); Pentecostal (1.6 percent); Jewish (1.2 percent); Islamic (1 percent); Greek Orthodox (1 percent); and Mennonite (1 percent). Immigration from eastern and southern Asia in recent years has also brought increasing numbers of Buddhists, Hindus, and Sikhs.

Most religious groups are widely distributed across Canada, but some communities are concentrated in specific areas. For example, the Mennonites, the Hutterites, and the Ukrainian Orthodox are mainly located in the Prairie provinces, the majority of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) reside in Alberta, most Hindus live in Toronto, and most Sikhs live in Vancouver. In each of these cases, religious communities have created visible landscapes that add to the distinctiveness and variety of Canadian places. In Vancouver, for example, there are several Sikh temples that are each large enough to accommodate more than 1,000 at a service. The Vancouver area also has two thriving Indo-Canadian shopping areas that specialize in traditional products of the Punjab, the district in India where Sikhism originated.

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