Young, Well-Educated, and Adaptable

Chilean Exiles in Ontario and Quebec, 1973-2010

Francis Peddie (Author), Royden Loewen (Series Editor)


Between 1973 and 1978, six thousand Chileans leftists took refuge in central Canada after the Pinochet coup d’état. Once resettled at the northern extreme of the Americas, these political exiles had to find ways of coping with an abrupt and violent separation from their homeland that had deep material and emotional repercussions. In Young, Well-Educated, and Adaptable, Francis Peddie documents the experiences of twenty-one Chileans as they navigate their newfound identity as exiles. Peddie also considers how the admission of people from the wrong side of the Cold War ideological divide had an effect on Canadian immigration and refugee policy, establishing a precedent for the admission of political exiles over the decades that followed.


"The 6,000 Chileans who made their way to Canada between 1973 and 1978 arrived as political refugees who were obliged to reconstruct their lives in a society that was at best ambivalent to the forces that drove them out of Chile. Francis Peddie’s book provides a highly readable and insightful overview of the Chilean refugee experience in Canada. Young, Well-Educated, and Adaptable is based on interviews with Chilean refugees about politics, Canadian society and tragedy of longing to return. While the focus of this book is on one community, readers familiar with other communities of exiles will identify with the stories and experiences that are common to so many Canadians. Peddie not only looks at adjustment to life in a new society, he also provides a solid historical background setting Chile and Canada in the context of the Cold War. Young, Well-Educated, and Adaptable is more than just a history of an exile community, it is a story about Canada and our record of providing refuge to people from around the world."

Ron Harpelle, Lakehead University

“Allows for a broad and comprehensive understanding of the exile, settlement, and integration/reintegration process for the first wave of Chilean exiles to Canada, as a result of the coup d‘état and ensuing repression.”

Morgan Poteet, Refuge

"A well-written, accessible, and rich social history of Chilean exiles who fled to Canada after the 1973 coup against Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. A fantastic look at these exiles’ migration and settlement, the book offers keen insights..."

Asa McKercher, Canadian Journal of History

About the Authors

Francis Peddie is a historian of Latin America and Canadian immigration originally from Toronto. He teaches at Nagoya University in Japan.

Royden Loewen is Chair of Mennonite Studies at the University of Winnipeg. His books include Family, Church and Market: A Mennonite Community in the Old and New Worlds and From the Inside Out: The Rural World of Mennonite Diarists.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Anatomy of an Exile
Chapter 2: [GB3]Chile and Canada in the Cold War
Chapter 3: Getting Out, Getting In: The Push and Pull of Exile
Chapter 4: The Bonds of Exile: Community Associations and Activism
Chapter 5: The Challenges and Changes of Exile: Work, Study, Family Life, and Gender Roles
Chapter 6: Staying Put or Going Back
Chapter 7: The Road Ahead, the Road Behind
A Final Thought: Utility and Suitability, Forty Years On