Tomorrow, May 25, marks the ninth annual Newcomer Day in Toronto. It is an event hosted by the City of Toronto to help newcomers to the city (and Canada) get familiar with their new home and the settlement services that are available to them.
The event is being held at Nathan Phillips Square and runs from 10 am to 3 pm. It is open for all Torontonians and visitors to attend.
A representative from Toronto City Hall wrote to CIC News and said, “Newcomer Day is an event for new Torontonians to feel celebrated and supported in their new home. In addition to building a more welcoming community for all, the event includes performances, food trucks and an information fair that promotes newcomers’ knowledge of programs available to them.”
Last year, over 8,000 people attended the event, and a higher number is expected this year.
One of the key events of Newcomer Day is a citizenship ceremony. The City representative says it is expected that 40 permanent residents will become Canadian citizens during the day.
There will be many other events as well. For example, to help encourage civic engagement amongst youth and newcomer groups there will be information available about civic participation in Toronto. Participants will have the opportunity to vote on issues important to them as part of a simulated mock voting exercise.
This could be a useful exercise for some as Toronto will elect a new mayor on June 26 and this may be the first time some newcomers have had the opportunity to vote in Canada.
Additionally, there will be a large number of representatives from colleges, language schools, career counselling services, community services (such as those that offer additional support to women and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community), mental health services and more, all on hand to help newcomers as they settle in the city.
There will be activities for children and a Tipi design workshop to help newcomers better understand Canada’s indigenous history. Participants also have the opportunity to join a 30-minute walking tour of the surrounding neighbourhood led by Toronto History Museums.
Immigrants in Toronto
Immigrants make up 23% of Canada’s population and Toronto is home to the highest number of immigrants in Canada. Data from Census 2021 shows that 46.6% of the population of Toronto are immigrants.
Toronto is also home to 15.7% of Canada’s non-permanent residents and in 2021, 17.6% of Toronto immigrants arrived as refugees.
A Census report compiled by the City government says women+ (defined by Statistics Canada as trans women, non-binary persons and cisgender women) make up the majority of immigrants in the city. It found that for the non-immigrant population of Toronto, Women+ made up 49.9 percent of the population. In comparison, 53.9 percent of immigrants in Toronto identify as Women+.
Among all immigrants, 55%, were born in Asia. Census data shows that the top three birth countries of Toronto immigrants are the Philippines, China and India.
It was also found that in 2021, 52.9% of the Toronto population was first generation, meaning neither of their parents were known to be born in Canada. This compares to 26.4% of the Canadian population as a whole and 33.7% of Ontario’s population.