Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

The resources on this Canadian blog are all free, and I spend a lot of my time working on it, so please consider becoming a SUPPORTER. I appreciate all the support I get. It is the fuel that keeps me going.

Membership is FREE.

NOTE: To leave a comment, click on the word "comment" at the bottom of the page. A comment page will pop up.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Where do Vancouver's Ethnic Minorities Live?

Last week the Vancouver Sun ran a five part series on the neighbourhoods within Metropolitan Vancouver in which its ethnic minorities have decided to settle down.

According to the 2006 Canada Census information, almost 40,000 immigrants arrive in Metro Vancouver every year. Often referred to as the Lower Mainland, Metro Vancouver is a region of 2.2. million people that comprises of Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, White Rock, Tswassen, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley
Again based oln the last census, 42% of Metro Vancouverès population consists of visible minorities. That number will definitely rise when the results of the 2011 census are published.

 In his five part series, columnist Douglas Todd reported on the areas and neighbourhoods where ethnic minorities, including South Asian, Chinese, Filipino, Italian, Dutch, English and many other ethnic groups have made their homes. The series  includes a series of interactive maps that detail where different ethnic groups are living.

The series is both informative, and useful reading if you want to get to know  the city and the region you are living in. As such, I am including links to all the of the articles and maps as well as the complete version of he last story. 
In his last and concluding article of the series Todd made some raised important questions that all of us who live in the Vancouver area need to think and talk about.  This includes long time Canadians, both former immigrant and native born and recent immigrants.  

Do we want to continue living in ethnic enclaves where we feel less of a sense of a belonging to Canada, or do we want to mix it up a little more so that this city famous for its tolerant multiculturalism becomes truly multicultural in every sense of the word   immigrants.  .
 RELATED: “Ethnic mapping: A unique interactive way to explore Metro Vancouver”

Vancouver Sun Staff Blog: The Search

Ethnic Mapping Conclusion:
As Enclaves Grow, will Metro Residents' Trust Fade?
by Douglas Todd 

The  Vancouver Sun’s unique ethnic mapping series has revealed a distinct trend – that Metro Vancouver’s neighbourhoods are becoming increasingly defined by ethnicity.
What will the diverse face of Metro Vancouver look like in a couple of decades? If recent high immigration settlement patterns continue, the fast-growing region of 2.2 million will further evolve into a collection of enclaves.

The vast majority of Metro Vancouver residents, of all ethnic origins, tend to be friendly, or, at minimum, tolerant, toward people of different backgrounds, whom they meet every day in offices, schools, on transit and in shopping outlets.

But, in the midst of this apparent inter-ethnic urban calm, The Sun’s ethnic mapping series has revealed Metro Vancouver residents are increasingly choosing to seek comfort by living near people of the same colour or ancestry, whether Chinese, South Asian, Filipino or Caucasian.

Indeed, Metro Vancouver may be the country’s prime illustration of a shift that is occurring across Canada’s major bustling metropolises, which new immigrants overwhelmingly choose over smaller cities.

In 1981, Canada had only six ethnic enclaves, which Census Canada defines as neighbourhoods where more than 30 per cent of the population is a visible minority.

Now, the number of ethnic enclaves in the country has mushroomed to more than 260.

The Sun’s mapping series, based on 2006 census data, has determined that roughly 110 of those enclaves are in Metro Vancouver. No major Canadian region has more enclaves as a proportion of its population.More than 70 of those Metro ethnic enclaves are predominantly Chinese. Most are in the cities of Vancouver and Richmond.Another 40 ethnic enclaves are predominantly South Asian. Most are in southeast Vancouver and north Surrey.

In 2006, more than 42 per cent of Metro residents were members of a visible minority. When the results of the 2011 census are revealed, the number of both visible minorities and ethnic enclaves is expected to have expanded further.Furthermore, if Statistics Canada eventually begins, as some expect, to start counting whites the same way they do other visible minorities, the number of ethnic enclaves in Metro Vancouver would sharply increase again.

What did The Sun series discover about how the rise of enclaves is affecting the face and culture of Metro Vancouver? Many Metro residents, of all colours, often declare pride in their ethnic neighbourhoods, professing they are places where people of diverse backgrounds generally get along cheerfully. Metro Vancouver, the series confirms, is home to untold mixed-ethnic business connections, friendships, partnerships and marriages. Some young people are leaders in this intercultural fusion.

But The Sun has also found distinct murmurs of discomfort among young and old throughout Metro, expressed both on the record and off, in private.

Interviews generally backed up the impression captured by a 2010 Nanos Research poll, which found 29 per cent of British Columbians want to increase immigration rates. But 31 per cent of B.C. residents want levels to stay the same, and almost 40 per cent desire fewer newcomers.
There are many echoes in Metro of famous Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam’s massive survey of 30,000 Americans, which determined that people who live in ethnic enclaves generally tend to be more distrusting of those around them.Meanwhile, a series of scholarly studies out of the University of B.C., Scandinavia and by Transparency International consistently show that the most contented people and well functioning governments and economies are those based on a high degree of mutual trust.

The Sun’s interviews fully backed up University of Victoria scholar Zheng Wu’s recent study, which found immigrants say they feel “comforted” and “protected” by settling into enclaves of people of their own ethnicity.At the same time, however, Wu saw a downside, concluding that life in ethnic enclaves reduces immigrants’ “sense of belonging to Canada.”  
Few Metro Vancouverites suggest trust and mutual reliability have disappeared among the city’s disparate residents.But suspicion often comes out in whispers – over which ethnic group is making housing unaffordable, why schools are so ruthlessly competitive, how store signs are often appearing in languages other than English and whether employers, white or Asian, are willing to hire outside their ethnic group.

Around the planet, Canadians, and especially Metro Vancouverites, are often complimented for their broadminded approach to living together in the same cities as people of multiple ethnic origins.

Like London and Toronto, Metro Vancouver is becoming a mass laboratory for globalization, an experiment in whether cooperation can flourish in a major metropolis made up of people from different backgrounds.

No one knows how Metro will turn out a few decades from now. If enclaves expand, will the city come up with the institutions, people or values that can foster a sense of unity among its eclectic residents?To counter the demographic shifts that are moving residents into distinct neighbourhoods in Metro Vancouver, will there be ties that bind us together, that encourage a sense of common purpose?  The world will be watching to find if this city has the answers.

What are your opinions or feelings on this topic? 

Please leave a comment:


  1. First of all, thank you for Michelle give us this article which lets me think a lot. Secondly, as a Chinese immigration, living in some areas such as Richmond, Vancouver East that is very convenient for my life. Therefore, I can find the same kind of food and the clothes from my hometown. Finding a job also is the most important thing in my new life in Canada .When I just came here, my English wasn’ t good, but I quickly found a job to solve my finicial problem without worry about my English. Some old Chinese immigration gave me a lot of advice to help me integrate into the community life in Canada. Finally, I don’t feel multiculturalism that is my problem; in contrast, I enjoy it a lot. I am so happy that my child will grow up in a colorful culture background. In conclusion, I have never regretted to
    Choose Canada as my second hometown, and I will accept the multiculturalism in this land because I am the one cell in it. I hope my child has a peaceful and colorful life in Canada.

  2. Yini,
    I am happy that you are integrating and feel like part of the community. It is good to hear that you had advice from other immigrants and that you enjoy the multicultural aspect of the city. I hope that as your English improves, you can find a job where you can speak English, or perhaps both.


If you do not have a web site, or a Google account, click on Name/URL and simply leave your name. You do NOT need to be a member to leave a comment.