Toronto Skyline-BlueI love living in multicultural Toronto. I remember when I was living in Central America, there was an international political event. I went to the conference center and suddenly felt at home, seeing all the different faces, the African robes and the Indian saris. We get used to it and tend to forget how special and precious this environment really is.

The following article compares Pittsburgh, with just a 4% immigrant population, to Toronto, which is about half immigrants. It traces some of our immigration history, explores how our values around immigration formed and shares something I had missed, that in June Toronto declared itself a Sanctuary City.

 

Toronto: ‘most multicultural city in the world’

By Mark Roth

To get a quick view of the demographic divide between this bustling Canadian city and Pittsburgh, just drop by the Urban Eatery in the city’s Eaton Centre on any weekday lunch hour.

The 980 seats are filled with customers whose faces reflect every hue of the human tapestry. Mandarin and Tagalog mix with English and Farsi as diners chatter with each other. And the food shops range from standbys like KFC and Subway to counters offering shrimp tom yum, chicken shawarma, nabeyaki udon and Moroccan stew.

While Pittsburgh, with a metro population of 2.4 million, sits at the lower end of American regions with a foreign-born population of just 4 percent, nearly half of the Toronto region’s 5.6 million residents were born in another country. The nation’s 2011 census said that 2.4 million people, or 45 percent of the region’s total population, was foreign born.

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