South Asian Canadians

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South Asian Canadians
Canadiens d'origines Sud-Asiatique
South Asian ancestry in Canada.png
South Asian ancestry % in Canada (2016)
Total population
2,571,400[1]
7.1% of the total Canadian population (2021)
Regions with significant populations
Southern Ontario, Southwestern BC, Central Alberta, Southern Quebec, Most urban areas
Languages
Canadian English · Canadian French ·
Punjabi · Hindi–Urdu · Tamil · Gujarati · Bengali
Other South Asian languages
Religion
Hinduism (29.9%)
Sikhism (29.6%)
Islam (23.1%)
Christianity (9.5%)
Irreligion (6.1%)
Buddhism (1.1%)
Jainism (0.3%)
Zoroastrianism (0.1%)
Judaism (0.05%)
Baháʼí (0.02%)
Indigenous (0.004%)
Others (0.1%)
[2]
Related ethnic groups
South Asian Americans · Asian Canadians · British Asians · South Asian people

South Asian Canadians are Canadians who were either born in or can trace their ancestry to the Indian subcontinent, which includes the nations of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives.

The term South Asian Canadian is a subgroup of Asian Canadian and, according to Statistics Canada, can further be divided by nationality, such as Indian Canadian, Pakistani Canadian, and Bangladeshi Canadian.[3] As of 2016, South Asians (5.7%) comprise the third largest pan-ethnic group in Canada after Europeans (72.9%) and East Asians (6.2%).

As of 2021, 2,571,400 Canadians had South Asian geographical origins, constituting approximately 7.1% of the total Canadian population and 35.1% of the total Asian Canadian population.[1] This makes them the largest visible minority group in Canada comprising 26.7% of the visible minority population, followed by Chinese and Black Canadians respectively.[1]

The largest communities are found in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, while metropolitan areas with large South Asian Canadian populations include Toronto (1,182,485), Vancouver (369,295), Calgary (153,200), Edmonton (123,340), and Montréal (121,260).[1] Over half (60.3%) of South Asian Canadians live in two metropolitan areas as of 2021; Greater Toronto and Metro Vancouver.[1]

Terminology[edit]

The term 'Asian' in Canadian English generally refers to people from East and Southeast Asia. This differs from the British English definition of Asian, which includes South Asia but excludes East and Southeast Asians terming them as Oriental or East Asian instead. Thus, the term South Asian has come into common usage referring to Asians hailing from the Indian subcontinent.[4] This includes countries such as India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives. It does not include nations such as Afghanistan and Myanmar, which have been considered South Asian in some other connotations of the term.

Canadians from South Asia may also be identified by their country of origin such as Indian or Pakistani. They may also be identified by their specific cultural backgrounds, for example Punjabi or Tamil. The term "East Indian" was a historical term used widely in Canada to refer to people hailing from India as opposed to Aboriginal peoples who are also sometimes referred to as "Indian." This term has been made less common after the introduction of the general term "South Asian" in areas with significant Indian Canadian populations like Toronto.

Brown[5][6][7][8][9] and Desi are also terms used to refer to Canadians from South Asia. However, these are avoided in more formal contexts due to their ambiguity and the possibility of being seen as derogatory.

Census Canada lists both cultural backgrounds like Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayali, and Goan in addition to cultures like East Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Pakistani.

History[edit]

Punjabi Sikhs in Whitehorse, Yukon, April 1906

Late 19th century[edit]

The first known record of Canadians from South Asia dates back to 1897, when Punjabi Sikh soldiers arrived in British Columbia while transiting from India to the United Kingdom during the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.[10]

Early 20th century[edit]

Punjabi Sikhs in Vancouver, 1908

With an estimated population of 100 by 1900,[10] further South Asian settlement waves to Canada occurred in the few years after the turn of the 20th century; after hearing stories about the high wages being paid in British Columbia, some Punjabi British Indian soldiers stationed in Hong Kong and other British-controlled Chinese cities emigrated to Canada and settled in the western province.[10] Attracted by these wages, more Sikh men began immigrating into British Columbia, working mainly in industries such as mining, logging and railroads. Many of these men, who arrived without their families, settled in Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, interior BC, northern BC, and the Fraser Valley in what is now Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Kitsilano Gurdwara, c. 1910

A notable moment in early South Asian Canadian history was in 1902 when Punjabi Sikh settlers first arrived in Golden, British Columbia to work at the Columbia River Lumber Company.[11] These early settlers built the first Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) in Canada and North America in 1905,[12][13] which would later be destroyed by fire in 1926.[14]

In 1907 the government in British Columbia enacted laws limiting the rights and privileges of Canadians from South Asian countries, which prevented them from voting and denied them access to holding political office, public sector jobs and other professions,[15] which prompted many to migrate south from Vancouver across the border to the United States, where some became the victims of the 1907 Bellingham riots.[16] In early 1908, the Continuous journey regulation was enacted in an effort to prevent South Asians from immigrating to Canada. The law required that people arriving from South Asia in Canada must "come from the country of their birth or citizenship by a continuous journey and or through tickets purchased before leaving their country of their birth or nationality." This prevented Indian soldiers stationed in Hong Kong and Japan from immigrating to Canada.

Punjabi Sikhs at a lumber camp, c. 1914

The second Gurdwara to be built in Canada was in 1908 in Kitsilano (Vancouver) and aimed at serving a growing number of Punjabi Sikh settlers who worked at nearby sawmills along False Creek at the time.[17] By the end of 1908, 5,209 Canadians were from South Asia, nearly all of whom were Punjabi settled across British Columbia. Many South Asian Canadians soon began to face discrimination and xenophobia from those of European (Anglo-British) background, experiencing similar treatment to the East Asian Canadian community, such as the Japanese and Chinese.[18][19] European settlers viewed Asian settlers, and included the Indians, as a threat to the European nature of Canada.[20] In addition, many Asian migrants had to work for lower wages, which agitated the European (Anglo-British) majority of the time.[21]

By 1911, the third Gurdwara to be built in Canada opened in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Built in 1911, the Gur Sikh Temple was designated as a national historic site of Canada in 2002 and is the oldest existing Gurdwara in the country, as the Golden temple built in 1905 was destroyed by fire in 1926, and the Kitsilano temple built in 1908 would later close and be demolished in 1970, as the temple society relocating to the newly built Gurdwara on Ross Street, in South Vancouver. Later, the fourth Gurdwara to be built Canada was established in 1912 in Victoria on Topaz Avenue, while the fifth soon followed at the Fraser Mills (Coquitlam) settlement in 1913.

A notable example of early anti-South Asian sentiments as a result of Continuous journey regulation in Canada was the Komagata Maru incident. A successful Punjabi fisherman living in British Columbia attempting to circumnavigate the Continuous journey regulation chartered a Japanese steamship known as the Komagata Maru to travel from Kolkata, India to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The ship made stops in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Yokohama, where it picked up more Eastern-Caucasian settlers. In total the ship carried 376 passengers, of whom 337 were Sikh, 27 were Muslim and 12 were Hindu. All passengers originated from the Punjab and were registered as British subjects. Upon arriving in Vancouver though the ship was not permitted to dock with several British Columbian politicians such as Conservative MP H.H. Stevens campaigning against their right to dock.

Some South Asian Canadians already settled in Canada began launching 'shore committees' led by Husain Rahim (Gujarati-Canadian),[22] Muhammad Akbar (Punjabi-Canadian)[22] and Sohan Lal Pathak. These were to protest against the decision not to allow the settlers on the Komagata Maru no to enter Canada. Passengers threatened to start a rebellion, or ghadar, if they were forced back to India. The shore committee raised $22,000 and launched a test case legal battle in the British Columbia Court of Appeal. On July 6, the court unanimously decided they had no authority to interfere with the Department of Immigration and Colonization and had ordered the harbor tug Sea Lion to pull the ship out to sea on July 19. This resulted in rioting between the settlers on board and police officers. The ship was ultimately forced back to India on July 23, with only 20 of the settlers being allowed to stay in Canada.

With most Punjabi Sikhs continuing to seek employment in the forestry industry, at various sawmills across British Columbia, more Gurdwaras continued to be built, including one at the Queensborough (New Westminster) settlement in 1919,[23][24][25] soon followed by another at the Paldi (Vancouver Island) settlement, also in 1919.[26][27][28][29]

Mid 20th century[edit]

Punjabi Sikh settlement in Queensborough, New Westminster, 1931.
South Asian Canadian
Population History
YearPop.±%
1901100—    
19085,209+5109.0%
19112,342−55.0%
19211,016−56.6%
19311,400+37.8%
19411,465+4.6%
19512,148+46.6%
19616,774+215.4%
197167,925+902.7%
1981223,235+228.6%
1986314,305+40.8%
1991505,515+60.8%
1996723,345+43.1%
2001963,190+33.2%
20061,316,770+36.7%
20111,615,925+22.7%
20161,963,330+21.5%
20212,571,400+31.0%
Source: Statistics Canada
[30]: 16 [31][32]: 353 [33]: 225 [34]: 236 [35]: 503 [36]: 272 [37]: 2 
[38]: 484 [39]: 5 [40]: 2 [41]: 26 [42]: 31&68 [43]: 34 [44]: 47 
[45]: 68 [46]: 11 [47][48][49][50][51][1]
Reception of South Asian Ugandan refugees at Canadian Forces Base in Longue-Pointe, Quebec, October 1972
Expelled South Asian Ugandans arrive in Montreal, October 1972

The continuous journey regulation provision remained in effect until 1947, as did most other anti-South Asian laws. However pressure from the community resulted in the Canadian government allowing the wife and children of their Canadian husband/father to immigrate. However, a population stagnation ensued and by the mid-1920s the South Asian population in Canada stood at just over 1,000 persons.[52] Despite their declining numbers, Canadians from South Asia grew wealthier. They began to acquire their own lumber mills which were used to produce wood and sawdust for consumer purchase. During the Great Depression the tight-knit nature of the South Asian community mitigated many of the economic effects the depression had on other communities in Canada.

South Asian Canadians were granted the right to vote in 1947. Furthermore, as a result of the recent independence of several South Asian nations such as India, Pakistan and Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka, the Canadian government created annual immigration quotas which were to allow 150 Indians, 100 Pakistanis and 50 Sri Lankans the right to immigrate to Canada each year.

In 1950, 25 years after settling in Canada and nine years after moving to British Columbia from Toronto, Naranjan "Giani" Singh Grewall became the first individual of South Asian ancestry in Canada and North America to be elected to public office after successfully running for a position on the board of commissioners in Mission, BC against six other candidates.[53][54][55][56][57]Grewall was re-elected to the board of commissioners in 1952 and by 1954, was elected to became mayor of Mission.[53][56][57]

"Thank you all citizens of Mission City [...] It is a credit to this community to elect the first East Indian to public office in the history of our great dominion. It shows your broad-mindedness, tolerance and consideration.".[55]

— Notice by Naranjan Singh Grewall in the local Mission newspaper following his election to public office, 1950

A millwright and union official, and known as a sportsman and humanitarian philanthropist as well as a lumberman, Grewall eventually established himself as one of the largest employers and most influential business leaders in the northern Fraser Valley, owned six sawmills and was active in community affairs serving on the boards or as chairman of a variety of organizations, and was instrumental in helping create Mission's municipal tree farm.[53][55][56][57][58] With strong pro-labour beliefs despite his role as a mill-owner, after a scandal embroiled the provincial Ministry of Forestry under the-then Social Credit party government, he referred to holders of forest management licenses across British Columbia as Timber Maharajahs, and cautioned that within a decade, three or four giant corporations would predominantly control the entire industry in the province, echoing similarities to the archaic zamindar system in South Asia.[56][58] He later ran unsuccessfully for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (the precursor of today's New Democratic Party) in the Dewdney riding in the provincial election of 1956.[57][58]

While by the 1950s, South Asian Canadians had gained respect in business in British Columbia primarily for their work in owning sawmills and aiding the development of the provincial forestry industry, racism still existed especially in the upper echelons of society.[56][59] As such, during the campaign period and in the aftermath of running for MLA in 1956, Grewall received personal threats, while the six mills he owned along with his house were all set ablaze by arsonists.[59][a] One year later, on July 17, 1957 while on a business trip, he was suspiciously found dead in a Seattle motel, having been shot in the head.[a][b][59][60] Grewall Street in Mission was named in his honour.[61]

“Every kid in the North Fraser, who thinks he or she is being discriminated against, should read the Grewall story and the challenges he faced.”.[a]

— Former B.C. premier Dave Barrett on Naranjan Singh Grewall

Beginning in the 1960s racial and national restrictions were removed from Canada's immigration policies resulting in the explosive growth of South Asian community. The South Asian Canadian community grew from just 6,774 in 1961 to 67,925 just ten years later in 1971.

Many of the South Asians arriving during the 1970s were not directly from South Asia but instead from Southeast Africa. Discrimination in many African Great Lakes nations like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania against Indians was growing as a result of their status as a market-dominant minority. This is when a minority group controls a disproportionately large segment of the economy due to their over representation in business and above average education. One notable incident of this was Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's expulsion of 80,000 Ugandan Indians as part of his economic war to allow indigenous Ugandans to regain control of the countries economy. As a result, nearly 20,000 Indians fled to Canada, some directly others after temperately settling in other nations in Africa. They eventually grew to be the first sizable non-Sikh South Asian community in Canada. Shenaaz Nanji's Governor General's Award-nominated novel Child of Dandelions deals with the expulsion of Indians from Uganda and their immigration to Canada.

Around this time the Caribbean, mainly from Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, and Indo-Fijians began immigrating to Canada as well, settling mainly in Toronto, Ontario. Many of these South Asians were the descendants of indentured laborers were brought by the colonial British government to replace the slaves on plantations. After completing their work terms the majority remained in these countries. Many of the immigrants who arrived from the Caribbean, the African Great Lakes and Fiji were educated professionals who upon arriving in Canada worked in the service sector or began their own businesses. As opposed to the industrial sector which mainly early Sikhs worked in.

Late 20th century[edit]

Prior to the wide-scale urbanization of the South Asian Canadian community, the most statistically significant populations existed across rural British Columbia; a legacy of previous waves of immigration and settlement patterns that existed earlier in the 20th century through until the latter quarter of the century, as Punjabi Canadians continued to seek employment in the provincial forestry sector at sawmills throughout Vancouver Island and the interior. During the period between 1981 and 1996, small towns including Fort St. James (South Asians formed 22 percent of the total population), Quesnel (14 percent), Lake Cowichan (13 percent), Merritt (13 percent), Williams Lake (12 percent), Tahsis (10 percent), 100 Mile House (10 percent), Golden (9 percent), Squamish (9 percent), and Lillooet (9 percent) had the largest South Asian concentrations in Canada.[62][63][64][65][66][67]

Starting in the 1980s South Asians arriving directly from the Indian subcontinent began to increase noticeably as well. In 1985 around 15,000 immigrants arrived from South Asia annually in 2012 that number was at 46,000 annually. In addition to the South Asians still arriving from other parts of the world like the Gulf of Arabia, Caribbean, the African Great Lakes and Fiji. As a result, the South Asian community began forming growing enclaves particularly in the Vancouver and Toronto area. Some notable areas are Gerrard Street, Brampton and several neighborhoods in Mississauga, Scarborough, Markham and Etobicoke in the Greater Toronto Area. In British Columbia notable South Asian districts include South Vancouver, Surrey, Delta and Abbotsford.

In 1986, following the British Columbia provincial election, Moe Sihota became the first Canadian of South Asian ancestry to be elected to provincial parliament. Sihota, who was born in Duncan, British Columbia in 1955, ran as the NDP Candidate in the riding of Esquimalt-Port Renfrew two years after being involved in municipal politics, as he was elected as an Alderman for the city of Esquimalt in 1984.

The rise of the Khalistan movement, the secessionist movement that sought to make the Indian state of Punjab a separate nation for Sikhs. As a result, during the 1980s many Sikhs living in Canada began to involve themselves in the Khalistan movement by organizing protests in Canada and sending money to fund separatist groups back in India. These protests reached their peak in 1984 when the Indian army raided the Golden Temple which were followed by the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards and finally anti-Sikh riots throughout North India. Several major anti-Indian protests occurred in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto with angry protesters forcing their way into the Indian embassy in Toronto carrying knives and smashing photos of Indira Gandhi. On June 23, 1985, several Canadian Sikhs led by Talwinder Singh Parmar were arrested for the Air India Flight 182 bombing, which killed 329 people. It is considered the worst terrorist attack to ever be carried out by Canadians.

With the outbreak of the Sri Lankan civil war in 1983 many Sri Lankan Tamils were forced to flee persecution and violence and see refuge in Canada. This made Sri Lankan Canadians the fifth largest source of immigrants during the 1990s. It also made Canada home to the largest Tamil population in the Western World with 140,000 Tamils living in Canada, primarily Toronto and Montreal. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, though officially recognized as terrorist group in Canada still receives widespread support among the Sri Lankan Tamil Canadian community.

In 1990 Baltej Singh Dhillon, a Canadian Sikh challenged the traditional dress code of the RCMP in order to accommodate his turban, a mandatory article of clothing worn by many Sikh men. The caused controversy with opponents arguing that the uniform of the RCMP was a national icon to be preserved, while proponents pointed out that Sikh soldiers served in the British army during World War I and World War II and also served in many Canadian police forces. On March 16, 1990, the policy was amended to include Sikhs to serve while wearing a turban.

21st century[edit]

Beginning in the 21st century the makeup of Canadians from South Asia had changed greatly. Sikhs had gone from making up nearly 90% of Canadian South Asians during much of the early−mid 20th century to just 28% in 2001. This is as a result of a more diverse background of South Asians immigrating to Canada as opposed to the primarily Sikh and Punjabi immigrants of the early 20th century. In 2006 total South Asian Canadians outnumbered the specific numbers of Chinese Canadians as the largest visible minority group in Canada with 25% of visible minorities. On February 24, 2000 Ujjal Dosanjh became the first Canadian of South Asian origin to become provincial premier, after being appointed premier of British Columbia, representing the New Democratic Party.

During the first decade of the 21st century India remained the second largest source of invited immigrants behind China but ahead of the Philippines. Pakistan was also among the top ten sources of invited immigrants to Canada. In addition, India is also the second largest source of foreign students in Canada with 28,939 invited Indian students studying in Canada in 2012 compared with 1,747 in 2000. In 2007, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Toronto opened in Toronto, making it the largest Hindu temple in Canada. The Aga Khan Museum is also currently under construction by Ismaili Muslims hailing from Pakistan. Several other notable places of worship have been built by Canadians from South Asia including the Khalsa Darbar Gurdwara and Baitul Islam mosque.

South Asian Canadian culture also began to move into the Canadian mainstream in the 21st century. Bhangra music, a genre of music from India that combines traditional Punjabi music with pop and hip hop and other Western musical styles has grown increasingly popular throughout Canada. Canadians of all backgrounds enjoy and are also familiar with Bollywood. In 2011 the 12th International Indian Film Academy Awards were hosted in Toronto, which was home to nearly 832,000 Canadians of South Asian ancestry, one of the largest in the Western World. How to Be Indie, a Canadian children's television program produced by YTV, revolves around the daughter of Hindu Indian immigrants living in Toronto, and has since been syndicated in the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, Latin America and elsewhere. The Indian Canadian comedian Russell Peters has used his heritage as material for many of his jokes.

In the 2015 Canadian federal election, 16 South Asian Members of Parliament (MPs) were elected from Ontario alone, which is the most in Canadian history.[68] Four South Asian ministers have been appointed to the Canadian cabinet, which includes the Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan.[69]

Demography[edit]

Canadians of South Asian descent total population (1901−2021)
Canadians of South Asian descent percentage of the total population (1901−2021)

Population[edit]

South Asian Canadian Population History
1901−2021
Year Population % of total population
1901
[10]
>100 0.002%
1908
[30]
5,209 0.079%
1911
[32]: 354 [30]
2,342 0.032%
1921
[32]: 356 [30]
1,016 0.012%
1931
[35]: 503 [30]
1,400 0.013%
1941
[36]: 272 [37]: 2 [30]
1,465 0.013%
1951
[38]: 484 [30]
2,148 0.015%
1961
[39]: 5 [30]
6,774 0.037%
1971
[40]: 2 [30]
67,925 0.315%
1981
[41]: 7 [42]: 68 
223,235 0.927%
1986
[43]: 34 [42]: 31 
314,305 1.256%
1991
[45]: 68 [46]: 11 
505,515 1.873%
1996
[47]
723,345 2.536%
2001
[48]
963,190 3.25%
2006
[49]
1,316,770 4.215%
2011
[50]
1,615,925 4.919%
2016
[51]
1,963,330 5.697%
2021
[1]
2,571,400 7.078%

The first confirmed reports on the Canadians from India were in 1908 which put the East-Indian Canadian population at 5,209. The overwhelming majority of whom were Sikh, male, and settled in British Columbia. However, as a result of laws which restricted the immigration the community had declined to only 1,100 by the mid-1920s. By 1961, right before racial restriction were respectfully removed from Canada's immigration policy, Canadians from South Asian countries rose to 6,774. With racial quotas being removed (invitations extended) during the 1960s the number of Canadians from South Asia created the diverse population we see into the present day.

According to the 2016 National Household Survey 1,963,330 Canadians had South Asian origins and 1,924,635 other Canadians were classified as belonging to the visible minority group, generally termed, South Asian. The growth of the population is attributed to sustained invitations of immigration from South Asian nations. According to a 2011 study conducted by Statistics Canada Canadians from South Asia will grow to between 3.2 and 4.1 million by 2036 or 8.7% to 9.1% of the Canadian population overall.[70][71]

National origins[edit]

South Asian Canadians Demography by National Origins (1996−2016)
2016[51] 2011[50] 2006[49] 2001[48] 1996[47]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Flag of India.svg India[nb 1] 1,582,215 80.59% 1,321,360 81.77% 1,072,380 81.44% 813,730 84.48% 638,345 88.25%
Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan 215,560 10.98% 155,310 9.61% 124,730 9.47% 74,015 7.68% 38,655 5.34%
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg Sri Lanka 152,595 7.77% 139,415 8.63% 103,625 7.87% 61,315 6.37% 46,585 6.44%
Flag of Bangladesh.svg Bangladesh 45,940 2.34% 34,205 2.12% 24,595 1.87% 13,080 1.36% 6,955 0.96%
Flag of Nepal.svg Nepal 17,140 0.87% 9,780 0.61% 3,780 0.29% 1,170 0.12% N/A N/A
Flag of Bhutan.svg Bhutan 3,600 0.18% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Flag of Canada.svg Total South Asian
Canadian Population
1,963,330 100% 1,615,925 100% 1,316,770 100% 963,190 100% 723,345 100%
  • Note: Totals exceed 100% due to multiple origin responses.

Religion[edit]

Sikh Proportion of the South Asian Canadian Population
(1901−2021)[72][73]: 40 [3][74][c][75][2]

Until the 1950s, Sikhs formed up to 95% of the entire South Asian Canadian population.[72]: 4 

The 1981 Canadian census found that the religious breakdown of Canadians with South Asian ancestry was 31.5% Sikhism, 27.2% Hinduism, 21% Islam, 15.2% Christianity, 3.1% Irreligion, 0.5% Buddhism, 0.1% Judaism, 0.01% Baháʼí, and 0.1% other.[73]: 40 

The 2001 Canadian census found that the religious breakdown of Canadians with South Asian ancestry was 29.7% Sikhism, 28.4% Hinduism, 23.2% Islam, 13.6% Christianity, 3.3% Irreligion, 0.9% Buddhism, 0.3% Zoroastrianism, 0.3% Jainism, 0.1% Judaism, 0.1% Indigenous, and 0.1% other.[76][77]

A report detailing the religious proportion breakdown of the South Asian Canadian community was done between 2005 and 2007 by Statistics Canada, with results derived from the 2001 Canadian census and a following survey[3][74][78] which found that Canadians of South Asian ancestry were 28% Sikh, 28% Hindu, 22% Muslim and 16% Christian, and 4% irreligious.[c] Other religious such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism practiced by Canadians of South Asian heritage formed the remaining 2%. The irreligious proportion of 4% among South Asian Canadians is statistically significant, as this figure climbs to approximately 17% when surveying all Canadians.[c]

The 2011 Canadian census found that the religious breakdown of Canadians with South Asian ancestry was 29.1% Hinduism, 28.5% Sikhism, 24.5% Islam, 11.8% Christianity, 4.3% Irreligion, 1.1% Buddhism, 0.1% Judaism, and 0.6% other.[75] This marked the first time in census records where Sikhs did not form the largest religious group amongst Canadians with South Asian ancestry.

Religious affiliation in the South Asian Canadian community varies greatly based on national background. Based on the Statistics Canada report done between 2005 and 2007 with results derived from the 2001 Canadian census, Indo-Canadians are split between Sikhs (34%) and Hindus (27%), Muslims (17%), Christians (16%), Irreligious (4%), with Jains, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians forming the remaining 2%.[79] The majority of Pakistani Canadians (90%) and Bangladeshi Canadians (87%) profess to follow Islam,[d] while the majority of Sri Lankan Canadians are Hindu (64%)[e] with a significant minority following Christianity. Nepalese Canadians tend to mostly follow Hinduism with few of them following Buddhism. Additionally, religious distributions among certain South Asian Canadian ethnic groups also vary; 80% of Tamil Canadians are adherents of Hinduism,[e] a large majority of Punjabi Canadians (86%) are Sikh, [f] while most Bengali Canadians (74%) are Muslim.[d]

Religion is found to play an important part in the lives of many Canadians from South Asia and serves as defining point in their identity, as with many people. Religious institutions such as gurdwaras, mosques, mandirs, koils and churches have often serve as points for the community. Religion can also play an important role in the marriage of some young Canadians from South Asia (who were born in Canada or in a country from South Asia). Some families believe that the couple must share the same religious heritage, which may also include caste, although this is becoming outdated. In recent years, Canadians from South Asia have opened private schools in order to preserve their religious heritage (as with Catholic schools), though the greatest majority attend government run schools.

More recently in 2013 the Quebec Soccer Federation had banned Sikh players in turbans from participating in matches, citing that turbans were a health hazard, though it is practised in India. This move created controversy among the Sikh community in Canada and condemned by FIFA.

South Asian Canadians
Demography by Religion (1981−2021)
2021
[2]
2011
[75]
2001
[76][77]
1991
[80]: 209 
1981
[73]: 40 
Population % Population % Population % Population % Population %
Om.svg Hinduism 768,785 29.9% 455,840 29.1% 260,535 28.4% 120,585 28.7% 53,490 27.2%
Khanda.svg Sikhism 761,960 29.6% 447,330 28.5% 272,220 29.7% 134,790 32.1% 61,785 31.5%
Star and Crescent.svg Islam 595,085 23.1% 383,365 24.5% 212,805 23.2% 90,890 21.6% 41,310 21%
Christian cross.svg Christianity 245,035 9.5% 185,345 11.8% 124,320 13.6% 54,960 13.1% 29,760 15.2%
Irreligion 156,855 6.1% 67,405 4.3% 30,610 3.3% 12,095 2.9% 6,045 3.1%
Buddhism 27,885 1.1% 17,685 1.1% 8,630 0.9% 2,960 0.7% 1,020 0.5%
Jainism 8,100 0.3% N/A N/A 2,385 0.3% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Zoroastrianism 3,630 0.1% N/A N/A 2,900 0.3% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Judaism 1,270 0.05% 1,105 0.07% 660 0.07% 70 0.02% 100 0.05%
Baháʼí 440 0.02% N/A N/A 400 0.04% 80 0.02% 15 0.01%
Indigenous 115 0.004% N/A N/A 585 0.1% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Other 2,240 0.1% 9,325 0.6% 1,025 0.1% 3,865 0.9% 105 0.1%
Total responses 2,571,400 100% 1,567,400 97% 917,075 95.2% 420,295 83.1% 196,395 88%
Flag of Canada.svg Total South Asian
Canadian Population
2,571,400 100% 1,615,920 100% 963,190 100% 505,515 100% 223,235 100%

Language[edit]

Knowledge of language[edit]

Many South Asian Canadians speak Canadian English or Canadian French as a first language, as many multi-generational individuals do not speak South Asian languages as a mother tongue, but instead may speak one or multiple[g] as a second or third language.

According to the 2021 census, South Asian languages with the largest number of speakers in Canada include Hindustani (1,176,295 persons or 3.2 percent of the national population),[nb 2] Punjabi (942,170 persons or 2.6 percent), Tamil (237,890 persons or 0.7 percent), Gujarati (209,410 persons or 0.6 percent), Bengali (120,605 persons or 0.3 percent), Malayalam (77,910 persons or 0.2 percent), Telugu (54,685 persons or 0.2 percent), Marathi (35,230 persons or 0.1 percent), and Sinhalese (33,050 persons or 0.1 percent).[81][82]

Mother tongue[edit]

Generation status[edit]

A large minority of Canadians are made up of first generation individuals, numbering 8,219,555 people and forming 23.85% of the national population as of the 2016 Canadian census.[89] In comparison with the nation-wide statistics, as of the 2016 Canadian census, a majority of the South Asian Canadian community was made up of first generation individuals, numbering 1,330,745 people and forming 67.78% of the total South Asian Canadian population.[89]

Similarly, a large minority of Canadians are also made up of second generation individuals, numbering 6,100,720 people and forming 17.70% of the total national population as of the 2016 Canadian census.[89] In comparison with the nation-wide statistics, as of the 2016 Canadian census, a large minority of the South Asian Canadian community was made up of second generation individuals, numbering 559,415 people or 28.49% of the total South Asian Canadian population.[89]

A narrow majority of Canadians are made up of third or more generation individuals, numbering 20,139,790 people and forming 58.44% of the total national population as of the 2016 Canadian census.[89] In comparison with the nation-wide statistics, as of the 2016 Canadian census, a small minority of the South Asian Canadian community was made up of third or more generation individuals, numbering 34,470 people or 1.76% of the total South Asian Canadian population.[89]

Generation Status of South Asian Canadians by province and territory (2016)[89]
Province/
territory
First
generation
% Second
generation
% Third
generation+
%
Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario 810,705 68.54% 325,385 27.51% 14,325 1.21%
Flag of British Columbia.svg British
Columbia
228,135 62.38% 125,305 34.26% 12,265 3.35%
Flag of Alberta.svg Alberta 164,700 71.13% 62,000 26.78% 4,225 1.82%
Flag of Quebec.svg Quebec 59,470 62.16% 28,950 30.26% 1,915 2%
Flag of Manitoba.svg Manitoba 32,530 75.39% 9,005 20.87% 525 1.22%
Flag of Saskatchewan.svg Saskatchewan 23,650 78.94% 5,890 19.66% 425 1.42%
Flag of Nova Scotia.svg Nova
Scotia
5,935 69.86% 1,600 18.83% 380 4.47%
Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador.svg Newfoundland
and Labrador
2,115 77.19% 410 14.96% 115 4.2%
Flag of New Brunswick.svg New
Brunswick
1,830 61.62% 495 16.67% 210 7.07%
Flag of Prince Edward Island.svg Prince Edward
Island
740 75.9% 135 13.85% 45 4.62%
Flag of the Northwest Territories.svg Northwest
Territories
480 78.05% 120 19.51% 20 3.25%
Flag of Yukon.svg Yukon 365 73% 115 23% 20 4%
Flag of Nunavut.svg Nunavut 95 73.08% 15 11.54% 0 0%
Flag of Canada.svg Total
Canada
1,330,745 67.78% 559,415 28.49% 34,470 1.76%

Geographical distribution[edit]

Provinces & territories[edit]

According to the 2021 census provinces with the largest South Asian Canadian populations include Ontario (1,515,295 persons or 10.8 percent of the total population), British Columbia (473,970 persons or 9.6 percent), Alberta (297,650 persons or 7.1 percent), Quebec (127,995 persons or 1.5 percent) and Manitoba (71,215 persons or 5.5 percent).[1]

Canadian provinces and territories by their ethnic South Asian population as per the 2001 Canadian census, 2006 Canadian census, 2011 Canadian census, 2016 Canadian census, and 2021 Canadian census below.

South Asian Canadians by province and territory (2001−2021)
Province/
Territory
2021[1] 2016[51] 2011[50] 2006[49] 2001[48]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario 1,515,295 10.8% 1,182,845 8.93% 1,003,180 7.93% 833,315 6.93% 592,500 5.25%
Flag of British Columbia.svg British
Columbia
473,970 9.64% 365,705[90] 8.02% 313,440[91] 7.25% 265,595 6.52% 210,420 5.44%
Flag of Alberta.svg Alberta 297,650 7.12% 231,550 5.82% 159,055 4.46% 107,690 3.31% 72,415 2.46%
Flag of Quebec.svg Quebec 127,995 1.54% 95,670 1.2% 91,395 1.18% 76,990 1.04% 62,585 0.88%
Flag of Manitoba.svg Manitoba 71,215 5.45% 43,150 3.48% 26,220 2.23% 17,800 1.57% 14,135 1.28%
Flag of Saskatchewan.svg Saskatchewan 44,725 4.05% 29,960[92] 2.8% 12,620 1.25% 5,510 0.58% 4,220 0.44%
Flag of Nova Scotia.svg Nova
Scotia
21,650 2.26% 8,495 0.94% 5,935 0.65% 4,830 0.53% 3,515 0.39%
Flag of New Brunswick.svg New
Brunswick
8,630 1.14% 2,970 0.41% 3,090 0.42% 2,560 0.36% 1,720 0.24%
Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador.svg Newfoundland
and Labrador
4,550 0.91% 2,740 0.53% 2,000 0.39% 1,755 0.35% 1,110 0.22%
Flag of Prince Edward Island.svg Prince Edward
Island
3,740 2.49% 975 0.7% 500 0.36% 255 0.19% 140 0.1%
Flag of the Northwest Territories.svg Northwest
Territories
775 1.92% 615 1.5% 200 0.49% 210 0.51% 200 0.54%
Flag of Yukon.svg Yukon 1,035 2.61% 500[93] 1.42% 365[94] 1.1% 200 0.66% 205 0.72%
Flag of Nunavut.svg Nunavut 180 0.49% 130 0.37% 115 0.36% 85[95] 0.29% 30 0.11%
Flag of Canada.svg Canada 2,571,400 7.08% 1,963,330 5.7% 1,615,925 4.92% 1,316,770 4.21% 963,190 3.25%


With immigration restrictions for non-European origin ethnocultural groups lifting during the 1960s, the South Asian Canadian population witnessed rapid growth in the mid-late 20th century, increasing from 67,925 persons or 0.3% of the total Canadian population in 1971 to 723,345 persons or 2.5% of the total Canadian population in 1996; this growth was primarily attributed to mass immigration.

Attributed to the large increase in immigration during the era, Ontario overtook British Columbia by 1971 as the province with the largest population of individuals with South Asian ancestry in Canada. The South Asian population in Ontario grew from 30,920 persons in 1971 to 427,470 persons by 1996; in British Columbia from 18,795 persons in 1971 to 165,010 persons by 1996.

During the same era, British Columbia would continue to be the province with the largest proportion of South Asian Canadians, increasing from 0.9% in 1971 to 4.5% by 1996, while the South Asian Canadian share of the total population in Ontario grew from 0.4% in 1971 to 4.0% by 1996.

Canadian provinces and territories by their ethnic South Asian population as per the 1971 Canadian census, 1981 Canadian census, 1986 Canadian census, 1991 Canadian census and 1996 Canadian census below.


Immigration restrictions prior to the 1960s severely limited South Asian population growth in Canada. British Columbia was the only province to have notable populations during the early-to-mid 20th century, peaking in 1908 with approximately 5,209 persons, forming 1.6% of the provincial population.

Tightened immigration restrictions, heightened racial tensions, along with migration to the United States or a return to the subcontinent prompted a population decline in the following years; the 1911 census counted 2,292 persons of South Asian ancestry in British Columbia, comprising 0.6% of provincial population.

This was followed by another population decline in the ensuing 10 years with 951 persons of South Asian ancestry in British Columbia or 0.2% of the total population in 1921. During the ensuing 30 years, a population stagnation followed by a slow gradual increase in the South Asian Canadian population principally stemmed from natural growth, as immigration from the subcontinent has been essentially halted since 1908 due to the Continuous journey regulation.

In the 1950s, country quotas were introduced and permitted sponsorship of relatives, thus resulting in the first relatively major increase in the South Asian Canadian population since prior to 1908.

Canadian provinces and territories by their ethnic South Asian population as per the 1911 Canadian census, 1921 Canadian census, 1931 Canadian census, 1941 Canadian census, 1951 Canadian census, and 1961 Canadian census below.

Metropolitan areas[edit]

According to the 2016 census, metropolitan areas with large South Asian Canadian communities include the Toronto (973,225), Vancouver (291,005), Calgary (122,900), Edmonton (91,420), Montréal (85,925), Ottawa (39,980) and Winnipeg (38,100).

Canadian metropolitan areas by their ethnic South Asian population as per the 2011 Canadian census and 2016 Canadian census below.

South Asian Canadians by metropolitan areas (2011−2016)
Metro
Area
Province 2016[51] 2011[50]
Pop. % Pop. %
Toronto Ontario 995,125 16.97% 833,080 15.09%
Vancouver British
Columbia
291,005[97] 11.99% 252,400 11.07%
Calgary Alberta 122,900[98] 8.94% 84,870 7.08%
Edmonton Alberta 91,600 7.06% 61,135 5.36%
Montreal Quebec 90,815 2.26% 79,540 2.12%
Ottawa-
Gatineau
Ontario-
Quebec
42,310 3.25% 34,790 2.86%
Winnipeg Manitoba 38,910 5.11% 23,175 3.24%
Abbotsford-
Mission
British
Columbia
38,250[97] 21.69% 32,245 19.35%
Hamilton Ontario 32,720 4.45% 23,765 3.36%
Kitchener-
Cambridge-
Waterloo
Ontario 27,525 5.33% 20,910 4.45%

Subdivisions[edit]

According to the 2016 census, subdivisions with the largest South Asian Canadian communities include Brampton, Ontario (44.3%), Surrey, British Columbia (32.8%), Abbotsford, British Columbia (25.5%), Mississauga, Ontario (23.2%), Milton, Ontario (21.0%), Ajax, Ontario (20.9%) and Delta, British Columbia (20.3%).

Source: Canada 2016 Census
National average: 5.6%

  • Note: Subdivisions shown below have South Asian Canadian populations above the national average.

Alberta[edit]

British Columbia[edit]

Historical[edit]

Manitoba[edit]

Ontario[edit]

Brampton, Ontario is home to the highest percentage of Canadians from South Asia with 261,705 or 44.3% of the population.

Québec[edit]

Saskatchewan[edit]

Immigration[edit]

For much of the early 20th century restrictions such as the continuous journey regulation and quotas were placed on people immigrating from the countries of South Asia to prevent them from immigrating to Canada. When these restrictions were removed in the 1960s immigration from the Indian subcontinent and other places like the African Great Lakes, the Caribbean and Fiji gradually increased. As of 2012, India was the third largest source of immigrants for Canada behind the Philippines and China respectively. Pakistan was the fourth, Sri Lanka the seventeenth, Bangladesh the nineteenth and Nepal the thirty-eighth. In addition immigrants to Canada arrive from regions such as the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, the Caribbean and the African Great Lakes (as well as European countries). Historically, British Columbia was the traditional destination for Punjabi immigrants. Beginning in the 1970s, however, Ontario grew to become the top destination due to its job availability. In recent years migration to Alberta has also increased due to its comparatively stronger economy and better job market.

Admissions of Permanent Residents by Country of Citizenship, 1980 - 2019
Year India Pakistan Bangladesh Sri Lanka Nepal
1980 8 880 978 83 185 1
1981 8 670 972 84 371 1
1982 8 148 1 201 86 290 6
1983 7 338 900 81 197 1
1984 5 704 668 98 1 086 2
1985 4 211 514 92 845 4
1986 7 151 691 486 1 838 13
1987 10 189 1 072 503 4 447 6
1988 11 522 1 334 476 2 779 13
1989 10 343 2 261 387 2 758 4
1990 12 041 2 470 611 3 525 23
1991 13 733 3 079 1 115 7 266 29
1992 13 673 4 071 1 655 13 102 32
1993 21 496 4 777 1 280 9 563 40
1994 18 620 4 666 1 361 7 150 31
1995 18 488 4 994 2 042 9 368 66
1996 23 859 9 125 2 824 6 484 132
1997 22 268 13 073 3 378 5 415 155
1998 17 241 9 068 2 202 3 566 104
1999 18 974 9 979 2 064 4 982 157
2000 28 535 15 395 3 117 6 077 236
2001 31 204 16 705 3 832 5 860 272
2002 31 894 15 092 2 944 5 272 363
2003 27 135 13 204 2 138 4 886 312
2004 28 199 13 399 2 660 4 489 403
2005 36 179 14 314 4 171 4 918 607
2006 33 773 13 128 4 012 4 651 540
2007 28 731 10 123 2 897 4 097 511
2008 28 257 8 984 2 939 4 751 581
2009 29 452 7 215 2 106 4 543 561
2010 34 226 6 812 4 721 4 420 1 392
2011 27 488 7 467 2 694 3 310 1 129
2012 30 920 11 208 2 634 3 338 1 185
2013 33 078 12 611 3 792 2 394 1 308
2014 38 330 9 113 2 233 2 604 1 219
2015 39 340 11 295 3 305 1 785 1 525
2016 39 705 11 350 3 230 1 535 755
2017 51 590 7 655 3 190 2 150 1 110
2018 69 980 9 490 3 205 2 165 1 400
2019 85 585 10 790 3 395 2 235 1 410
2020 42 885 6 230 1 615 1 010 570
Total 1,059,035 307,473 85,738 161,707 18,209

Sources:[101][102][103][104]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  11. ^ "FIRST SIKH TEMPLE IN NORTH AMERICA". March 10, 2021. The first Sikhs came to Golden about 1902, arriving to work in the sawmill of the Columbia River Lumber Company. When the Sikhs arrived in Golden the community was in its infancy and the sawmill had recently opened. The Columbia River Lumber Company recognized the value of these tall strong men and had no problem with the men. They hired them to work in the lumberyard, planer, and sawmill. The first documented proof that we have of South Asians of the Sikh faith being residents of Golden is a copy of a telegram sent to G.T. Bradshaw, Chief of Police, New Westminster from Colin Cameron, Chief of Police, Golden, BC on July 20, 1902. It was sent collect and reads: Geha Singh of Golden sent a telegram to Santa Singh care of Small and Bucklin for one thousand dollars.
  12. ^ "Sikhs celebrate history in Golden". April 26, 2018. The original temple in Golden sat on a corner of a lot, in the south western area of town at the end of the street looking toward where Rona is now. The largest influx of men came from South Asia around 1905, which would be the time period that the temple in Golden would have began services. In 1926, a fire burned the timber limits of the Columbia River Lumber Company, where the South Asian men worked.
  13. ^ "Golden's Sikh heritage recognized on new Stop of Interest sign". November 9, 2016. “We acknowledge the Gurdwara in Golden as the first in B.C., and quite likely the first in North America,” said Pyara Lotay, on behalf of the local Sikh community. “We thank the B.C. government for recognizing Golden’s Sikh pioneers and their place of worship with this Stop of Interest.”
  14. ^ "Golden Gurdwara is recognized for its historical significance". June 7, 2017. The original temple sat on the corner of a lot, which is now owned by Gurmit Manhas, at the end of the street past the School Board Office looking towards the Rona. Plans are being put together to erect a kiosk there that would share information about the original building, the first South Asian people to Canada, the importance of the Gurdwara to the Sikh people and the history of why they left and what brought them back. The largest influx of men came from South Asia in about 1905-06, which would be the time period that the Temple would have begun services. In 1926 a fire burned the timber limits of the Columbia River Lumber Company, where all the South Asian men worked and the men left for the coast having no work to do. When the forest started to grow back the men came back and soon it was necessary to build the present Gurdwara on 13th Street South.
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  23. ^ "New Westminster Sikh temple celebrates 100-year anniversary". March 3, 2019. The Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar is one of the oldest Sikh temples in the country and its members are celebrating the milestone anniversary by reflecting on its historic significance to the local Sikh community. The temple was actually founded more than 100 years ago when a pioneering Sikh named Bhai Bishan Singh bought a house next door to where the building is now. Singh paid $250 for the house, which served as a place of worship until the congregation grew too large. In 1919, Singh bought the neighbouring lot at 347 Wood Street and the Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar was born.
  24. ^ "New Westminster Sikh temple welcomes community to celebrate its centennial anniversary". February 27, 2019. The Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster is inviting community members to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar in Queensborough. Since opening in 1919, the temple has become an integral part of the Queensborough and New Westminster communities, and has provided a place for Sikhs from New Westminster and the Lower Mainland to gather and to worship. “It is starting up on Thursday and it will be four days, with the main event on Sunday. It’s open to anyone within the community – in Queensborough and in New West. It’s to show support, learn about each other and the heritage,” said Jag Sall, a member of the committee that’s organizing the celebration. “I don’t think a lot of people know that the Sikh community has been in Queensborough for over 100 years, and/or the gurdwara itself has been there that long. Not just the Sikh community, but other communities in Queensborough have been living there for a century.”
  25. ^ "The Gurdwara of New West Shares a Century of Stories". January 23, 2020. Every Sunday in 1919, the Sikhs of Queensborough on the Fraser River would stroll over to the house of Bhai Bishan Singh for worship. Singh, like many Punjabi immigrants, settled in the New Westminster neighbourhood because he worked upriver at a sawmill. A devout Sikh, he had the holy scripture installed in his home, the Guru Granth Sahib. Singh was a bachelor and gave much of his earnings to the local Khalsa Diwan Society, which in 1908 had built B.C.’s first gurdwara, the Sikh place of worship, in Vancouver. In March 1919, Singh helped the Sikhs of New Westminster start a gurdwara of their own. For $250, Singh bought the property next door and donated it to the society. Later, he would donate his house as well.
  26. ^ "Paldi Sikh Temple in Cowichan celebrating 100 years". June 26, 2019. The town’s cultural centres were the Japanese community hall and the Sikh Temple, which officially opened July 1, 1919, to coincide with Dominion Day.
  27. ^ "Sikh temple celebrates 100 years of acceptance in Vancouver Island ghost town". June 29, 2019. Paldi's Gurdwara was built in 1919 and soon became one of the most important fixtures of the community, even surviving several town fires.
  28. ^ "THE FOUNDING OF PALDI". In 1919, Mayo built a Sikh temple, or a gurdwara.
  29. ^ "PALDI: Town soaked in Sikh History". Wherever there are five or more Sikh’s there will be Sikh Temple even just a spare room in some ones house. Therefore it was only that once the natural that once the mill and bunkhouses were erected the next building should be a Temple. The first official Temple in Paldi was built in 1919. On the same spot where the present Temple is located.
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  53. ^ a b c "Naranjan Singh Grewall: first NRI Mayor of Mission, BC, Canada". NRI Naranjan Singh Grewall was the first (Indo Canadian) Mayor of Mission, B.C., Canada and the first Indo Canadian mayor within any city in Canada, in 1954.He was elected Canada's first Sikh city councilor,to a public office in Mission, not only in Canada, but all of North America in 1950. In 1941, he came to Mission, B.C. from Toronto, Ontario. He purchased and became the operator of six lumber companies across the Fraser Valley. Referring to holders of forest management licenses as 'Timber Maharajahs', he warned that within 10 years 3 or 4 giant corporations would effectively control the industry in B.C. Mr. Grewall became a voice for the growing industry and openly critiqued the then government's policies of granting licenses to their friends. Throughout his life, Naranjan Grewall remained incredibly charitable.
  54. ^ Mahil, Lovleen. "Indo-Canadian Community in Mission"(Archive). Mission Community Archives, Mission Museum. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
  55. ^ a b c d "SOUTH ASIAN PIONEERS: NARANJAN SINGH GREWAL". May 19, 2015. Known as "Giani" to his friends, Naranjan Grewall is believed to be the first Indian ever elected to political office in North America. Grewall was born in East Punjab. He came to B.C. in 1925 and in 1941 moved to Mission City, a small mill town in the Fraser Valley. Grewall worked as a millwright at Fraser Mills and was elected a union official. He came to own and operate six sawmill companies and established himself as one of the largest employers and most influential business leaders in the area. After being in Mission for almost a decade, Grewall decided to run for political office in 1950. He competed against six other candidates in Mission's board of commissioners election.
  56. ^ a b c d e "SHAPING OUR COMMUNITY: PROMINENT INDO-CANADIAN PIONEERS". Already a popular and well-respected man, he topped the polls, beating out seven candidates in a historic victory, especially given that Indo-Canadians had only been given the right to vote three years before. While Indo-Canadians had gained respect in business, racism still existed, especially regarding elite positions in society. The Vancouver Daily Province newspaper ran an article with the headline, “First in BC and believed first East Indian in Canada to hold public office.” He was re-elected in 1952, and again in 1954. The same year the Board unanimously voted to name him Chairman of the Board, which gave him similar duties and influence to that of a Mayor. During his years in public office, he continued his community involvement and large-scale business ventures. He also fought for the building of a new Mission bridge as well as against prohibitive diking taxes [...] Naranjan Singh Grewall was even more passionate about the Forestry industry. At that time, the SoCred government in provincial power was embroiled in a corruption scandal. The Minister of Forestry was suspected of giving away significant amounts of timber rights to previously declined lumber corporations, often his personal friends. Worse, the premier W.A.C. Bennet seemed to be purposefully looking the other way. This infuriated Mr. Grewall, who termed the present holders of forest management licenses “timber maharajas”, believing that the current system could revert to a form of feudalism he had left behind in India.
  57. ^ a b c d "Diversity flourishes in Mission". May 12, 2017. In 1950, Naranjan Grewall became the first Hindu (as it was phrased at that time) in Canada to be elected to public office, after the voting franchise was extended to visible minority groups in 1947. In 1954, he was appointed to the position of mayor of Mission City by the board and later ran for the CCF in the Dewdney riding in 1956 [...] The two most legendary personalities from the Sikh community who graced Mission, and both employed hundreds of people, owning several large mills in the area, were Herman Braich Sr. and Naranjan Grewall.
  58. ^ a b c d "Grewall first Indo-Canadian to hold office of mayor in Canada". February 6, 2014. He was later nominated as a provincial candidate for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1956, making him also the first visible minority to run as a candidate in Canada. He was narrowly defeated by Socred Labour Minister Lyle Wicks. [...] And one of those legacies he left behind was the Mission Tree Farm. In 1958, Mission was the first municipality to be given responsibility to monitor their own forest called Tree Farm License #26. [...] During the much-heated 1956 provincial election, Grewall, as a CCF candidate, commonly addressed the issues of taxes, bridges, farmers and the forestry industry, which he claimed were being “monopolized” by a handful of large companies in the province. Grewall referred to these stakeholders as “timber maharajahs,” and said the system would revert to a “form of feudalism, which I left 30 years ago.”
  59. ^ a b c "Remembering Former Mission Mayor Naranjan Singh Grewal". July 14, 2017. [...] Naranjan Grewall was a polarizing figure. He was a wealthy man who gave freely and generously to worthy causes yet fought against many of the practices that were responsible for the wealth of many of the businessmen whom he rubbed shoulders with every day. He was well respected in the community of Mission and beyond – yet there were 14 suspicious fires in sawmills he was part owner of and his own house was set ablaze by an unknown arsonist. His wife was well aware of the dangers he faced although he kept his suspicions as to who was behind the threats to himself. True to his self-reliant and honorable reputation, he refused to name anyone or make any official complaints without proof. Naranjan Grewall’s death which occurred on a business trip to Seattle was officially labelled a suicide. Some of his close friends went to Seattle to try and make sense of the tragedy. What they discovered only raised more questions and indicated that the police investigation was certainly very limited in scope. There were reports of a loud quarrel in his room at the Star Motel and later that same night he moved to a different motel. There was alcohol found in the same room as his body and Grewall was never known to have drank alcohol, yet the police insist that he was alone in the room at all times.
  60. ^ "Was Grewall Murdered And If Yes Then By Who?". July 15, 2017. “It’s murder!” Those words of Helen Grewall were echoed by many friends of her late husband – former Mission Mayor Naranjan Singh Grewall – after his suspicious death in a Seattle hotel in the summer of 1957.
  61. ^ "Streets Stories: Grewall Street" (Archive). Mission District Historical Society, Mission Community Archives website. Retrieved on March 16, 2015.
  62. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (April 3, 2013). "1981 Census of Canada : volume 2 - provincial series : population; language, ethnic origin, religion, place of birth, schooling". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved November 18, 2022.
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  65. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (March 29, 2019). "1991 Census Area Profiles Profile of Census Divisions and Subdivisions - Part B". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  66. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (June 4, 2019). "Data tables, 1996 Census Top 25 Ethnic Origins in Canada by Age Groups (13), Showing Single and Multiple Responses (3), for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions, 1996 Census (20% Sample Data)". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
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  68. ^ "16 SOUTH ASIAN mp's ELECTED FROM ONTARIO: 15 LIBERALS, 1 CONSERVATIVE (UPDATED) | Indo-Canadian Voice". Archived from the original on October 21, 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  69. ^ "5 turbaned Sikh MPs, 5 South Asian women enter Canadian Parliament". Hindustantimes.com. October 20, 2015. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  70. ^ "Population (in thousands) by visible minority group, Canada, 2011 (estimated) and 2036". January 25, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  71. ^ "Projections of the Aboriginal Population and Households in Canada 2011 to 2036" (PDF). Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  72. ^ a b "A Social History of South Asians in British Columbia". www.saclp.southasiancanadianheritage.ca. April 2022. Retrieved September 25, 2022. From 1904 to the 1940s, 95% of all South Asian immigrants to Canada were Sikhs from the Punjab region of India.
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  74. ^ a b c Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (July 16, 2007). "The South Asian Community in Canada". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  75. ^ a b c Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (January 23, 2019). "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables Religion (19), Age Groups (10), Sex (3), Selected Demographic, Cultural, Labour Force and Educational Characteristics (268) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011 National Household Survey". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  76. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (December 23, 2013). "2001 Census Topic-based tabulations Religion (95) and Visible Minority Groups (15) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2001 Census - 20% Sample Data". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  77. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (December 23, 2013). "2001 Census Topic-based tabulations Selected Demographic and Cultural Characteristics (104), Selected Religions (35A), Age Groups (6) and Sex (3) for Population, for Canada, Provinces, Territories and Census Metropolitan Areas, 2001 Census - 20% Sample Data". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  78. ^ a b c d Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (September 13, 2005). "South Asians in Canada: Unity through diversity - ARCHIVED". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  79. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (July 16, 2007). "The East Indian community in Canada". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2022. The majority of Canadians of East Indian origin are either Sikh or Hindu. In 2001, 34% said they were Sikh, while 27% said they were Hindu. Another 17% were Muslim, 9% were Catholic and 7% belonged to a mainline Protestant denomination or other Christian grouping. On the other hand, relatively few Canadians of East Indian origin have no religious affiliation. That year, just 4% of people who reported East Indian origin said they had no religious affiliation, compared with 17% of the overall population.
  80. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (April 3, 2013). "Census, 1991 Religions in Canada". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved October 14, 2022.
  81. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (August 17, 2022). "Knowledge of languages by age and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  82. ^ a b c Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (August 17, 2022). "Census Profile, 2021 Census of Population Profile table Canada [Country] Language". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  83. ^ a b "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Canada [Country] and Canada [Country] Language". February 8, 2017.
  84. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (September 11, 2013). "NHS Profile, Canada, 2011 Non-official languages spoken". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  85. ^ a b Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (October 24, 2012). "2011 Census of Population Language". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  86. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (August 17, 2022). "2021 Census of Canada: Mother tongue by single and multiple mother tongue responses: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations with parts". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
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  89. ^ a b c d e f g Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (June 17, 2019). "Visible Minority (15), Generation Status (4), Age (12) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces and Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2016 Census - 25% Sample Data". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
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  92. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (October 27, 2021). "Census Profile, 2016 Census Saskatchewan [Province] and Canada [Country] Visible minority". www12.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
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  1. ^ a b c When Grewall was nominated as a candidate for the CCF party in the Dewdney riding in 1956, this drew excitement. But, according to Barrett, Grewall faced open discrimination on the campaign trail. “The former mayor knew the risk he was taking and many people were surprised he took this risk to enter the race,” said Barrett. Barrett said Grewall overcame many racial insults along the way. “Every kid in the North Fraser, who thinks he or she is being discriminated against, should read the Grewall story and the challenges he faced.” Grewall was later found dead in a Seattle motel room with a gunshot wound to the head in July of 1957. He was 47 years of age.[58]
  2. ^ After losing his MLA bid in 1956 to SoCred Labor Minister Lyle Wicks, Grewal began receiving threats. Fires were set at his mills and his house was set ablaze. On July 17, 1957, while on a business trip, Grewall was found dead in a Seattle motel. He had been shot in the head. Although local police ruled it a suicide, Grewall's family believes he was a victim of foul play. Grewall was survived by his wife and three children, who left Mission City shortly after his death. Despite the suspicious circumstances of his death, Grewall's story is more notable for his legacy of community involvement than for his untimely demise.[55]
  3. ^ a b c Canadians of South Asian origin are almost equally divided among the Sikh, Hindu and Muslim faith groups. In 2001, 28% of South Asians reported they were Sikh, 28% said they were Hindu, and 22% were Muslim. At the same time, another 16% reported that they were Christian. In contrast, relatively few people of South Asian origin have no religious affiliation. In 2001, just 4% said they had no religious affiliation, compared with 17% of the overall population.[74]
  4. ^ a b [...] the majority of individuals reporting Pakistani (90%), Bangladeshi (87%) and Bengali (74%) ethnic origins were Muslim. [78]: 23 
  5. ^ a b Most people with Tamil and Sri Lankan ethnic origins were Hindu: 80% and 64%, respectively.[78]: 23 
  6. ^ [...] those with Punjabi ancestry were predominantly Sikh (86%) [...][78]: 23 
  7. ^ a b The question on knowledge of languages allows for multiple responses.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i Northwest Territories includes Nunavut, as the territory was not created until 1999.
  9. ^ a b c d Part of United Kingdom
  10. ^ Rural region including Clearwater, Vavenby, etc.
  11. ^ Rural region including Donald, Field, and surrounding small settlements.
  12. ^ Rural region including Cawston and surrounding small settlements.
  1. ^ 2016 census: Statistic includes all persons with ethnic or cultural origin responses with ancestry to the nation of India, including "Bengali" (22,900), "Goan" (6,070), "Gujarati" (8,350), "East Indian" (1,374,715), "Kashmiri" (3,115), "Punjabi" (118,395), and "Tamil" (48,670).[51]

    2011 census: Statistic includes all persons with ethnic or cultural origin responses with ancestry to the nation of India, including "Bengali" (17,960), "Goan" (5,125), "Gujarati" (5,890), "East Indian" (1,165,145), "Kashmiri" (2,125), "Punjabi" (76,150), and "Tamil" (48,965).[50]

    2006 census: Statistic includes all persons with ethnic or cultural origin responses with ancestry to the nation of India, including "Bengali" (12,130), "Goan" (4,815), "Gujarati" (2,975), "East Indian" (962,670), "Kashmiri" (1,685), "Punjabi" (53,515), and "Tamil" (34,590).[49]

    2001 census: Statistic includes all persons with ethnic or cultural origin responses with ancestry to the nation of India, including "Bengali" (7,020), "Goan" (3,865), "Gujarati" (2,805), "East Indian" (713,330), "Kashmiri" (480), "Punjabi" (47,155), and "Tamil" (39,075).[48]

    1996 census: Statistic includes all persons with ethnic or cultural origin responses with ancestry to the nation of India, including "Bengali" (3,790), "Goan" (4,415), "Gujarati" (2,155), "East Indian" (548,080), "Punjabi" (49,840), and "Tamil" (30,065).[47]
  2. ^ a b c Combined responses of Hindi and Urdu as they form mutually intelligible registers of the Hindustani language.

Further reading[edit]