It’s easy to worry about fitting in when relocating to a new country and city, but trust us, Toronto is so diverse that there’s no need to fear. The city of Toronto is growing in leaps and bounds. In fact, the Toronto Ministry of Finance projects that in the next 28 years, the population will spike by 31.3 per cent. That’s nearly 4.2 million new residents. Most of this growth will be people just like you – newcomers from other countries. Already, 52 percent of Torontonians are born outside of Canada.
Because people come from all over the world (Europe, China and Philippines to name a few) there’s no shortage of ethnic, religious and gender diversity. When you walk down the street or hop in the subway, you’re sure to encounter many differences. Cultural diversity in Toronto is something to be embraced and celebrated!
Ethnic Diversity in Toronto:
In general, Ontarians and Torontonians apply a policy of tolerance and acceptance, when it comes to ethnic diversity. Instances of racism are not tolerated by the general population, and they are certainly not the norm. While you’re sure to see a wide variety of faces from all over the world wherever you go in Toronto, there are also neighborhoods where people of like ethnicities tend to gravitate. For instance:
- There are three major Chinatowns, including the largest that’s located around the intersection of Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West.
- South Asians have a large population in the east end on Gerrard Street East. It’s a section of the city affectionately called Little India (thought people from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka live there too).
- Little Italy, home of some of the best authentic Italian food in the city is between Euclid Avenue and Shaw Street on College Street, on Toronto’s west side. In additions to Italians, Portuguese people sometimes live here.
- Greektown is home to a considerable Greek-origin population, and is located on Danforth Avenue around Chester and Jones Avenues.
- There’s a considerable Jewish population located on Bathurst Street between Eglinton and Steeles Avenues and
- Little Jamaica is located on Eglinton Avenue between Oakwood Avenue and Vaughan Road.
That’s just a start to the various ethnic communities, but it’s good to understand that even though there are hubs in Toronto, people of all ethnicities live and are welcome throughout Toronto.
Religious Diversity in Toronto:
People of Toronto come from a number of different faith backgrounds and practices. While the majority of residents who practice a religion are Catholic, at about 31 per cent, followed by Protestants, at about 21 per cent. About 26 per cent of those residing in Toronto proper have no religious affiliation, and you’ll also find populations of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i and other world religions. There are religious institutions for each one of these groups.
Gender and Sexual Diversity in Toronto:
When it comes to LGBT rights and supper, Ontario has always been pro-active and at the forefront in Canada, but also across the globe. The province has the third government to legalize gay marriage in the world, with legislation passing back in 2001. Ontario also has the first openly gay Premier in the country – Kathleen Wynne. Those are only a couple of indications of the LGBT-friendly vibe of Toronto.
If you enjoy cheering crowds, lively parades and showing your support, participating Toronto’s annual Pride Week and Pride Parade in late June is a great way to show your solidarity with the LGBT community. It’s the largest LGBT celebration of its kind and includes a three-day festival with live music and entertainment, lists of vendors, and family programming.
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