Where to find your cultural community in Canada

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: May 1, 2024

For many newcomers to Canada, finding people of their own social and cultural background can be a huge consideration in settling in a new country.

Luckily, due to its ethic of multiculturalism, and emphasis on diversity, newcomers from all around the world can likely find members of their community in Canada.

Below is a profile of Canada’s most populous municipalities, including prominent ethnic groups, place of birth, immigrant status, breakdown of official languages spoken, and knowledge of languages. The largest cities from each province have been chosen, and data has been obtained from the Canadian 2021 National Census.

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Definitions

For ethnic origins, this article uses Statistics Canada’s “list of ethnic or cultural origins 2021” (with in-depth definitions) which can be found here.

In terms of immigrant status, this article refers to:

  • “Immigrants” who are newcomers to Canada who have been granted permanent residence (PR) status, and/or individuals who have become naturalized Canadian citizens;
  • “Non-immigrants” which refers to people who are Canadian citizens by birth; and
  • “Non-permanent residents” who are foreign nationals who have been allowed to reside in Canada for a temporary period, usually on a study or work permit of some kind.

Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s biggest city and metropolitan center in Canada and within the province of Ontario. As of 2021, there were over 2.7 million residents in Toronto.

Immigrant Status

Toronto’s population consists of:

  • 1.39 million non-immigrants (48.2%);
  • 1.28 million immigrants (46.6%); and
  • 145,240 non-permanent residents (5.35%).

Knowledge of languages

Toronto’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (2.6 million speakers);
  • French (238,505 speakers);
  • Mandarin (162,950 speakers);
  • Spanish (138,770 speakers);
  • Tagalog (135,600 speakers);
  • Yue (Cantonese) (134,810 speakers);
  • Hindi (107,170 speakers);
  • Italian (84,335 speakers);
  • Portuguese (80,170 speakers); and
  • Tamil (77,785 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Toronto spoke:

  • English only (2.4 million speakers);
  • English and French (236,915 speakers); and
  • French only (2,555 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Toronto’s population:

  • 1.13 million people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 1.13 million people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 248,260 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 212,030 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 172,560 people were of ethnic African origin.

Montréal

Montréal is Canada’s second-biggest city by population and the largest city within the province of Quebec. It is also the largest francophone city in North America. As of the 2021 census, Montréal was home to 1.76 million residents.

Immigrant Status

Montréal’s population consists of:

  • 1.01 million non-immigrants (59%);
  • 576,120 immigrants (33.4%); and
  • 129,780 non-permanent residents (7.5%).

Knowledge of languages

Montréal’s population spoke the following languages:

  • French (1.47 million speakers);
  • English (1.21 million speakers);
  • Spanish (177,230 speakers);
  • Arabic (173,385 speakers);
  • Italian (95,535 speakers);
  • Haitian Creole (66,445 speakers);
  • Mandarin (41,405 speakers);
  • Portuguese (28,835 speakers); and
  • Vietnamese (24,550 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Montréal spoke:

  • English and French (1.01 million speakers);
  • French only (473,490 speakers);
  • English only (207,690 speakers); and
  • Neither English nor French (41,975 speakers).

Ethnic or cultural breakdown

Of Montréal’s population:

  • 684,765 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 419,860 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 307,525 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 230,025 people were of ethnic African origin; and
  • 136,480 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin.

Calgary

Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta, and one of Canada’s fastest-growing cities. In 2022 Calgary was ranked Canada’s most livable city and tied for third place for most livable city overall with Zurich, Switzerland. In 2021, 1.3 million people resided in Calgary.

Immigrant Status

Calgary's population consists of:

  • 834,100 non-immigrants (64.6%);
  • 430,640 immigrants (33.3%); and
  • 27,030 non-permanent residents (2.1%).

Knowledge of languages

Calgary’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (1.25 million speakers);
  • French (86,135 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (66,720 speakers);
  • Punjabi (61,025 speakers);
  • Spanish (54,235 speakers);
  • Mandarin (45,330 speakers);
  • Hindi (42,160 speakers);
  • Yue (Cantonese) (42,090 speakers);
  • Arabic (33,325 speakers); and
  • Urdu (29,980 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Calgary spoke:

  • English only (1.17 million speakers);
  • English and French (85,360 speakers); and
  • French only (825 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Calgary’s population:

  • 665,085 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 403,980 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 207,060 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 78,555 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 74,410 people were of ethnic African origin.

Winnipeg

Winnipeg is the biggest city—the capital—of the province of Manitoba. The city is a newly growing metropolitan area in Canada’s prairie region. As of 2021, Winnipeg was home to 749,607 residents.

Immigrant Status

Winnipeg’s population consists of:

  • 505,525 non-immigrants (68.6%);
  • 201,045 immigrants (27.3%); and
  • 30,095 non-permanent residents (4.1%).

Knowledge of languages

Winnipeg’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (723,085 speakers);
  • French (72,665 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (64,325 speakers);
  • Punjabi (39,215 speakers);
  • Spanish (15,660 speakers);
  • Mandarin (15,160 speakers);
  • German (12,425 speakers);
  • Arabic (9,335 speakers);
  • Russian (8,645 speakers); and
  • Ukranian (8,620 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Winnipeg spoke:

  • English only (656,965 speakers);
  • English and French (71,700 speakers); and
  • French only (1,225 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Winnipeg’s population:

  • 401,865 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 193,135 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 156,025 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 54,455 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 37,290 people were of ethnic African origin.

Vancouver

Vancouver is the province of British Columbia’s biggest city, and (along with Toronto and Montreal) one of Canada’s three biggest metropolitan areas. As of the 2021 census, Vancouver was home to 662,248 residents.

Immigrant Status

Vancouver’s population consists of:

  • 333,190 non-immigrants (51.2%);
  • 274,360 immigrants (42.2%); and
  • 42,830 non-permanent residents (6.6%).

Knowledge of languages

Toronto’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (612,215 speakers);
  • Yue (Cantonese) (96,960 speakers);
  • Mandarin (74,960 speakers);
  • French (60,990 speakers);
  • Spanish (36,500 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (30,430 speakers);
  • Punjabi (19,130 speakers);
  • Hindi (15,025 speakers);
  • Vietnamese (14,905 speakers); and
  • Japanese (12,075 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Toronto spoke:

  • English only (555,235 speakers);
  • English and French (61,055 speakers); and
  • French only (345 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Vancouver’s population:

  • 324,955 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 283,675 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 63,690 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 36,390 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 25,055 people were of ethnic Latin, Central, and South American origin.

Halifax

Halifax is the largest city and provincial capital of the province of Nova Scotia. The port city is one of the oldest in the country and is a fast-growing metropolitan area in Atlantic Canada. In 2021, 439,819 people resided within the city.

Immigrant Status

Halifax’s population consists of:

  • 367,730 non-immigrants (84.5%);
  • 50,590 immigrants (11.6%); and
  • 16,970 non-permanent residents (3.9%).

Knowledge of languages

Halifax’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (432,240 speakers);
  • French (53,690 speakers);
  • Arabic (10,560 speakers);
  • Hindi (7,965 speakers);
  • Mandarin (7,410 speakers);
  • Spanish (5,970 speakers);
  • Punjabi (4,965 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (3,835 speakers);
  • German (2,995 speakers);
  • Korean (2,365 speakers);

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Halifax spoke:

  • English only (380,210 speakers);
  • English and French (53,460 speakers); and
  • French only (295 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Halifax’s population:

  • 283,895 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 121,260 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 49.855 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 36,875 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 13,355 people were of ethnic African origin.

Saskatoon

Saskatoon is the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan. The province is often noted for its (slightly smaller) provincial counterpart, Regina. In 2021, Saskatoon had a population of 266,141.

Immigrant Status

Saskatoon’s population consists of:

  • 202,400 non-immigrants (77.6%);
  • 53,210 immigrants (20.4%); and
  • 5,340 non-permanent residents (2%).

Knowledge of languages

Saskatoon’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (257,180 speakers);
  • French (16,990 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (12,050 speakers);
  • Mandarin (6,295 speakers);
  • Urdu (5,800 speakers);
  • Hindi (5,520 speakers);
  • Punjabi (5,220 speakers);
  • Spanish (4,555 speakers);
  • Arabic (3,820 speakers); and
  • Ukranian (3,415 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Saskatoon spoke:

  • English only (241,760 speakers);
  • English and French (17,005 speakers); and
  • French only (110 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Saskatoon’s population:

  • 165,925 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 55,855 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 50,630 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 12,245 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 8,645 people were of ethnic African origin.

St. John’s

St. John’s is the largest city in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and one of the biggest cities in Atlantic Canada. As of 2021, St. John’s was home to 110,525 residents.

Immigrant Status

St. John’s population consists of:

  • 96,025 non-immigrants (89.2%);
  • 7,510 immigrants (7%); and
  • 4,125 non-permanent residents (3.8%).

Knowledge of languages

St. John’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (107,060 speakers);
  • French (9,940 speakers);
  • Arabic (1,745 speakers);
  • Spanish (1,235 speakers);
  • Hindi (1,070 speakers);
  • Mandarin (905 speakers);
  • Bengali (770 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (635 speakers);
  • Punjabi (590 speakers); and
  • German (575 speakers).

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Saskatoon spoke:

  • English only (97,575 speakers);
  • English and French (9,910 speakers); and
  • French only (50 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of St. John’s population:

  • 70,105 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 31,090 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 7,460 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 7,140 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 2,900 people were of ethnic African origin.

Moncton

Moncton is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, Canada’s only officially bilingual province. New Brunswick is also noted for the cities of Fredericton (the provincial capital) and Saint John, which are two other cities of comparable size to Moncton. In 2021, 79,470 people were residents of Moncton.

Immigrant Status

Moncton’s population consists of:

  • 65,225 non-immigrants (84.3%);
  • 8,460 immigrants (10.9%); and
  • 3,690 non-permanent residents (4.8%).

Knowledge of languages

Moncton’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (74,865 speakers);
  • French (35,940 speakers);
  • Arabic (1,390 speakers);
  • Spanish (1,370 speakers);
  • Hindi (1,190 speakers);
  • Punjabi (840 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (815 speakers);
  • Mandarin (605 speakers);
  • Korean (565 speakers);
  • Portuguese (390 speakers);

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Moncton spoke:

  • English only (41,630 speakers);
  • English and French (34,135 speakers); and
  • French only (2,010 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Moncton’s population:

  • 41,545 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 31,455 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 6,165 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin;
  • 6,080 people were of ethnic Asian origin; and
  • 4,115 people were of ethnic African origin.

Charlottetown

Charlottetown is the capital and largest city of the province of Prince Edward Island (PEI). The city is in the middle of PEI and accounts for over half of the province’s population. In 2021, 38,809 people were residents of Charlottetown.

Immigrant Status

Charlottetown’s population consists of:

  • 29,090 non-immigrants (77.4%);
  • 5,250 immigrants (14.0%); and
  • 3,260 non-permanent residents (8.7%).

Knowledge of languages

Charlottetown’s population spoke the following languages:

  • English (37,080 speakers);
  • French (4,970 speakers);
  • Mandarin (1,750 speakers);
  • Hindi (1,060 speakers);
  • Arabic (915 speakers);
  • Punjabi (860 speakers);
  • Vietnamese (565 speakers);
  • Spanish (555 speakers);
  • Tagalog (Pilipino, Filipino) (410 speakers);
  • Malayalam (390 speakers);

Breakdown of official languages spoken

Of Canada’s official languages, residents of Charlottetown spoke:

  • English only (32,370 speakers)
  • English and French (4,940 speakers); and
  • French only (35 speakers).

Ethnic and cultural breakdown

Of Charlottetown’s population:

  • 23,530 people were of ethnic European origin;
  • 8,040 people were of ethnic North American origin;
  • 6,650 people were of ethnic Asian origin;
  • 2,380 people were of “other ethnic and cultural” origin; and
  • 880 people were of ethnic African origin.

For more information on settling in Canada find our dedicated webpage here.

To look up a specific city not included in the above list, use Statistics Canada’s municipal profile tool here.

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