Viking, English or French? Who Was The First European Born In Canada?

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A statue of Snorri Thorfinnsson

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There is always a first, and while there have been millions of First Nations who have been born, lived and died in the country that would become Canada, there was only one first person born to European parents in the country.
So, who was the first child to be born to Europeans in the land of Canada? There is some disagreement over that, but there are three notable candidates.

Snorri Thorfinnsson
Arguably the first European born in the land of Canada, Thorfinnsson, whose name means, ‘a fight’ was born sometime between 1004 and 1013 AD in the Viking colony set up in Newfoundland. He is mentioned in the Vinland Sagas, where it is stated that his family left the colony when he was three-years-old because of hostilities with the First Nations people there.
The issue of whether or not he was born in Canada relates to the fact that it is not known for sure if he was born in the area of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia or in what would be the northeast United States. Many actually believe the likely spot was near Cape Cod.
Thorfinnsson would go on to have two children in Iceland and many of his descendants would become important figures in early Icelandic Christianity. Several became bishops in the coming centuries.
According to some sagas, Snorri would build the first church of Glaumbaer and his descendants published the first Christian Code of Iceland.
It is believed he died around the year 1090 in Iceland.

Jonathan Guy
Next, we look to Nicholas Guy. Guy was a settler who came to London and Bristol Company’s Cuper Cove, which was a colony in Newfoundland.
Born in Bristol, Guy was part of the first group of settlers to come to the new land in 1612 with 62 other people to establish the colony. During that winter, eight people died but one was born. That child was Jonathan Guy, who was born on March 27, 1613. His family would remain at the colony for many years and it is believed that John Guy, a close relative, would become the first Governor of Newfoundland.
Later in life, Jonathan would own four dwelling houses, two boats and a vegetable garden, along with seven cattle, 11 sheep and three hogs.

Helene Desportes
Considered to be the first white child born in New France, she was born in 1620 to her father Pierre and her mother Francoise. It is unknown exactly if she was born in Quebec, or before her family arrived in 1614.


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