Like many other cities across the country, Toronto is currently undergoing a demographic transformation thanks to the arrival of immigrants from various ethnic backgrounds – particularly those of South Asian heritage.
For several years now South Asians have comprised the largest visible minority group in the city, overtaking Chinese citizens since at least 2006. Experts estimate that by 2031, one in four Torontonians will be of South Asian descent – a group which includes Indians, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans among others.
Between 1996 and 2006, approximately 266,000 immigrants arrived in the city from South Asian countries, making this region the largest source of newcomers. Accordingly, many more South Asian businesses have sprung up around the city, which has not gone unnoticed.
“I’ve seen tremendous changes,” said Pradeep Sood, a local businessman. “Now I can get Indian groceries a stone’s throw from where I am. I can count at least seven or eight Indian restaurants within a two-mile radius of my house.”
However, it is not just Indian communities that are growing. South Asian immigrants, as a group, are becoming more diverse and more skilled, according to recent data. More are able to speak either English or French, and more are arriving in the country as skilled workers.
Experts say that the challenge for the city in the coming years will be to make sure that these immigrants are successfully integrated to avoid ethnic “pockets” of poverty and marginalization.
Source: Globe and Mail