Birth of the Canadian Jewish community

May 22, 2017

Aaron Hart

Aaron Hart, Artist unknown. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, P1000, S4, D83, PH12

1759 to 1760

Jewish immigration was banned during the French regime, which allowed only Catholics to settle in the colony. The first Jews known to settle in Canada were the businessmen Samuel Jacobs and Aaron Hart. Both were commissaries attached to the British Army during the British conquest of New France of 1760. Both settled in the new province of Quebec and prospered. Hart had four sons, Moses, Benjamin, Ezekiel and Alexander, who helped found the Jewish community in Montréal, where the first synagogue, Shearith Israel, was established in 1768.

Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.