Canada is unquestionably one of the world’s most multicultural countries. The northern nation attracts people from all over the world, and for most Canadians, the international scene is a source of great pride.
Today, approximately 7.5 million people from other countries live in Canada. People from Jamaica, China, and India can be seen walking through one of the country’s many amazing cities. You will also be exposed to celebrations, customs, music, food, and art from around the world. It is part of the Canadian way to respect its citizens’ backgrounds.
The North American country invites immigrants for a variety of reasons: population growth, economic growth, and cultural diversity being some of the biggest ones. A 2020 Canadian Government report noted that immigration accounted for more than 80% of Canada’s population growth in 2019. That year, Canada recorded 341,000 permanent residents as well.
In fact, foreign workers account for 26% of the workforce. In terms of students, over 800,000 international students had valid study permits in Canada in 2019.
But, with so many great cities from coast to coast, many people wonder, “Which are Canada’s most multicultural cities?” A look at five Canadian cities with the highest percentages of foreign residents is provided below.
1. Toronto: Canada’s most diverse city
Among Canada’s most diverse cities, Toronto easily wins first place. It’s nearly impossible to spend a day in Toronto without mixing with people from around the world. A Statistics Canada report examined the geographic distribution of the Canadian immigrant population and found Toronto to be the top destination for new Canadians.
Toronto’s 2.7 million immigrants account for nearly half of the city’s total population (46%, to be exact). This group accounts for 35.9% of all immigrants in Canada.
That’s why, a few years ago, The BBC named Toronto the most multicultural city in the world. In Toronto, the bustling Chinatown occupies a prominent part of the city’s downtown, making it difficult to miss. Koreatown is a fantastic destination for food and fashion. Little Italy always has dozens of restaurants serving delectable pizzas and pastas. There are also festivals that celebrate all things Greek, such as Taste of the Danforth (Canada’s largest street festival), the Tamil Festival, and the Chinese Lantern Festival.
2. Montreal: An incredible arts scene
Located in the French-speaking province of Quebec, Montreal is the home to 936,305 immigrants. It’s the second most diverse city in Canada. It has 12.4% of Canada’s immigrant population with folks from abroad representing 23.4% of the city’s total population. The ministry of immigration in Quebec reports that they are mostly European, Asian, or from other parts of the Americas.
Montreal is a fantastic city for a variety of reasons, including its incredible arts scene, incredible cuisine, affordability, and location in the culturally rich province of Quebec.
If any newcomers want to experience this cultural diversity, the city hosts a number of festivals in the summer. In June, for example, there are entire weeks dedicated to celebrating Japanese and Italian culture.
In the early summer, there is also a world music festival where bystanders can hear instruments and music styles from all over the world. The Festival International Nuits d’Afrique is another well-known festival in which over 100 performers put on shows celebrating African, Caribbean, and Latin American culture.
3. Vancouver: Combining city life with nature
The 989,545 immigrants in Vancouver account for nearly 41% of the city’s population and slightly more than 13% of the Canadian immigrant population. Many of those people are from China, India, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.
Vancouver is arguably the most beautiful city in Canada. Residents enjoy the best of both city life and nature. This is due to Vancouver’s location on the Pacific Ocean’s coast and in the mountains. It is entirely possible to spend the day trekking or sea kayaking and then settle in for cocktails and a fancy dinner in the evening. And, thanks to the international community, you can expect to dine at one of Vancouver’s many ethnically diverse restaurants on Chinese, Indian, or fusion cuisine.
4. Calgary: Close to tourist hotspots
Calgary (nicknamed “Cowtown”) is one of Alberta’s most thriving areas. Statistics Canada has reported that about 5.4% of Canada’s immigrant population live in Calgary. That translates to nearly 405,000 and over 29% of the city’s total population.
While the Calgary Stampede is the city’s claim to fame, many other events highlight the international cultures present in Cowtown’s neighborhoods. GlobalFest, Omatsuri (a Japanese event), Fiestaval (which celebrates Latin American identity), Serbian Fest, and the Calgary International Film Festival, which screens works from over 40 countries worldwide, are a few examples.
Another major draw for visitors from other countries is Calgary’s proximity to major Canadian tourist destinations such as Banff, Lake Louise, and Kootenay National Park.
5. Edmonton: A city of parks
Edmonton has become a destination for immigrants looking for a new home in Canada. The northern city is home to approximately 4% of Canada’s immigrant population, accounting for nearly a quarter of Edmonton’s total population. In the summer, you can expect dry weather and long days with late sunsets. Winter, on the other hand, is extremely snowy and cold.
Edmontonians also boast that over 150 languages are spoken there. The most common languages are French, Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, and Spanish.
Edmonton is also a relatively green city, with over 460 parks. For day trips, newcomers can visit nearby iconic locations such as Jasper National Park and UNESCO site Dinosaur Provincial Park, which is known for its dinosaur fossils.