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category: History
published: June 2018
publisher: UBC Press

Hard Work Conquers All

Building the Finnish Community in Canada

edited by Michel S. Beaulieu; Ronald N. Harpelle & David K. Ratz

tagged: post-confederation (1867-), emigration & immigration

Above the entrance to the Finnish Labour Temple in Thunder Bay is the motto labor omnia vincit – “hard work conquers all” – reflecting the dedication of the Finnish community in Canada. Hard Work Conquers All examines Finnish community building in Canada during the twentieth century. Waves of immigrants imbued the relationship between people, homeland, and host country with the politics, ideologies, and cultural expressions of their time. This collection of essays explores the cultural identities of Finnish Canadians, their ties to Finland, intergenerational cultural transfer, and the community’s connections with socialism and labour movements. It offers new interpretations of the influence of Finnish immigration on Canada.

About the Authors
Michel S. Beaulieu is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of History at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Ronald N. Harpelle is a historian and filmmaker. He is the author of The West Indians of Costa Rica and has written extensively about the West Indian diaspora in Central America. He is the co-author, with Bruce Muirhead, of IDRC: 40 Years of Ideas, Innovation, and Impact (WLU Press). Harpelle and Muirhead¿s research on IDRC appears in the documentary [http://vimeo.com/16696833/ Citoyens du Monde/Citizens of the World]. Ron Harpelle is also the director of In Security, a documentary film about barbed wire and boundaries and the co-director of Banana Split, a documentary about Canada’s favourite fruit.

David K. Ratz, a Professor in the Department of History at Lakehead University, specializes in Canadian military history. He lives in Slate River, Ontario.
Contributor Notes

Michel S. Beaulieu is the chair and an associate professor in the Department of History at Lakehead University and an associate of the L.R. Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University. His recent publications are The Little Third Reich on Lake Superior: A History of Canadian Internment Camp R (2015), Celluloid Dreams: An Illustrated History of Early Film at the Lakehead, 1900–31 (2012), and Labour at the Lakehead: Ethnicity, Socialism and Politics, 1900-35 (2011). Among other awards, he has received the Northwestern Ontario Visionary Award (2016), the M. Elizabeth Arthur Award (2015), the Gertrude H. Dyke Award (2015), and the City of Thunder Bay Heritage Award (2011).


David K. Ratz is a doctoral candidate at the University of Oulu, Finland, and teaches in the Department of History at Lakehead University. His various publications explore the military history of northwestern Ontario and various aspects of Finnish Canadian history.


Ronald N. Harpelle is a professor in the Department of History at Lakehead University. His publications include Language and Power: A Linguistic Regime for North America (2013), Pulp Friction: Communities and the Forest Industry in a Globalized World (2012), Le CRDI: quarante ans de recherche pour le développement (2011), and Long-Term Solutions for a Short-Term World: Canada and Research for Development (2011). Ronald is also an award-winning filmmaker whose documentaries focus on history, development issues, and human rights.

Editorial Review

This clever selection of diverse and intriguing aspects of the Finnish-Canadian culture and experience adds a valuable, specifically Finnish chapter to the larger history of immigration to Canada.

— Manitoba History Journal, Issue 88
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