Immigrants to Toronto

By: Michael H. Niren

The City of Toronto, situated in Ontario Canada is the 5th most populous municipality in North America behind Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Toronto is part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), which has a population of almost 6 million and is one of the fastest growing urban areas in North America. Toronto is Canada’s top financial, economic, medical and cultural centre. In addition, it has been named one of the World’s most livable cities by The Economist. In 2004, the United Nations Development Program ranked Toronto, second, behind Miami, in its “List of World Cities with the Largest Percentage of Foreign-born Population". Although Miami had the higher foreign-born population (mostly Hispanic and Haitian), Toronto’s foreign-born population is significantly more diverse. Toronto also ranked ahead of Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, Singapore, and Sydney for having a higher immigrant population. Toronto Canada’s immigrants, past and present, shape and define all that the city has become more than any other factor.

Every year, roughly 260,000 new immigrants come to Canada and approximately 30% choose to settle in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Toronto immigration is huge and it is immensely important to the city, as well as the province and the country, both economically and culturally.

Immigration to Toronto enhances the community economically by providing a much-needed workforce, and immigrant entrepreneurs have also created new jobs that are the life-blood of the Toronto economy. The Metropolitan Toronto Area continues to be attractive to immigrants due to its vast immigrant population, large job market, and an abundance of services for the newly arrived immigrant, delivered by all three levels of government.

Immigration to Toronto Canada has also affected this city culturally by turning it from a quaint, provincial backwater, primarily white and English speaking into one of the most multicultural and ethically diverse cities in the world. It is estimated that about 44% of Toronto’s population in 2001 was born outside Canada. This type of world-wide immigration to Toronto has made it extremely diverse with over 100 different languages and dialects spoken in the city. For this reason, the City of Toronto includes a large number of ethnic areas. The wonderful cultural mosaics that reside in Toronto are an ethnic delight and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city for the diversity of cultural attractions, art, shopping and cuisine. Tourism is now one of Toronto’s the most important industries, providing huge revenues and jobs.

Immigration to Toronto has helped define the city and make it a more interesting place to live and visit. Toronto has set it apart from other world cities because it brings with it diversity of race, religion and lifestyle. Toronto Canada’s immigrants are, in fact, what makes Toronto a special place on the world stage.

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