Switzerland is a relatively small and mountainous country in Central Europe. Switzerland shares borders with France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Three-fifths of the country is covered by the Alps; the Swiss Alps is a popular tourist attraction.
Population: 8 million (2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups: German (65%), French (18%), Italian (10%), Romansch (1%), other (6%)
Languages: German (official) (64.9%), French (official) (22.6%), Italian (official) (8.3%), Serbo-Croatian (2.5%), Albanian (2.6%), Portuguese (3.4%), Spanish (2.2%), English (4.6%), Romansch (official) (0.5%), other (5.1%)
Religions: Roman Catholic (38.2%), Protestant (26.9%), Muslim (4.9%), other Christian (5.7%), other (1.6%), none (21.4%), unspecified (1.3%)
SWISS IN TORONTO
In Canada: 137,775
In the GTA: 12,765
In the City of Toronto: 5,025
Primary Areas of Settlement in the GTA (Social Atlas):
Milton, Caledon, King, East Gwillimbury
Switzerland is a democratic nation well-known for its neutrality in international politics. It is one of the most prosperours countries in the world; its workforce is highly skilled and educated. It boasts a very high standard of living - its healthcare is excellent, life expectancy is high, and transportation infrastructure is extensive. The federal constitution guarantees religious freedom. In the past, there has been tension between Catholics and Protestants. Today, the tension has subsided but continues to exist. With a majority Christian population, it is unsurprising that Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Christmas are all holidays. It is difficult to speak of a Swiss church in Canada or of churches unique to Swiss immigrants. Since they belong to three major language groups, they have tended to join congregations speaking their particular tongue. Thus German-speaking Swiss of the Reformed or Roman Catholic persuasion have generally established churches together with other German-speaking immigrants of the same religious persuasion. Such is also true of Swiss from other linguistic backgrounds. This tendency has, of course, made it difficult for the church to serve as a focal point for Swiss-Canadian community life. Of the different religious groups, only among Mennonites can one find a significant Swiss influence.
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