The Canadian forestry industry has an interesting history. A recent article in History Magazine on Hungarian Forestry student refugees and their impact on the industry outlined some intriguing background. Below are some thoughts by the writer, Kianna Gnap, along with ways to access the full article:
Like many thousands of Canadians, my family is a product of European immigration. My father immigrated to Ontario with his family directly following the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. While my grandfather and grandmother were not forestry students, or even university students, they were hard-working farmers who sought a better life for their family after experiencing upheaval in their homeland.
The Hungarian immigrants had a significant effect on Canadian society and industry, especially in the way it provided influx of mostly young, skilled, and educated individuals and families. When I heard of the story of the Sopron forestry students that were taken in by the UBC forestry department I was compelled to learn more and to share this remarkable story. For me, this story reinforces the role that educational institutions have in providing opportunities and new beginnings, regardless of someone’s background, and how they are a model of progressive-mindedness.
While researching into Canadian immigration, I found that the Hungarian Revolution was a turning point in immigration policy, not only in Canada, but for many other countries of the Western world. It was inspiring to learn how the generally positive public opinion of Canadians influenced the government into adopting more rapid and open immigration efforts.