Multiculturalism in Vancouver; Are we living in Diversity?
"You live in Vancouver? Oh wow!! I'm here as a tourist, I'd love to tell you that Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and also one of the most multicultural cities in Canada." Those were the words she said to me, as I walked the seawall with my Canon T6i, trying to capture images for the blog on a cool evening during the summer. The short conversation we had stuck with me and these words, Vancouver, multicultural, multiculturalism,cultural diversity were ingrained in my memory. So, I began to ponder on the conversation we had. Is Vancouver actually a multicultural city or are we just a group of racially diverse people living, hanging ,working and schooling within the same vicinity?
Without an atom of doubt, globalization is transforming the states, societies, economies, and cultures of the world. A good number of times we mistake a place being culturally diverse for multiculturalism and vice versa. There is a very fine line between multiculturalism and diversity. However, they do not convey the same meaning.
Canada, being on of the most multicultural countries in the world has only 1/5 percent of its population born in this nation which consists of people from a multitude of racial, religious and cultural backgrounds. Toronto and Vancouver are the most popular immigrant destinations. Toronto is rated as one of the most multicultural cities in the world and Vancouver more cosmopolitan as opposed to being multicultural.
Having lived in Vancouver for some years now, I have come to realize there is some form of ethnic and residential segregation . There is the formation of ethnic spheres, where people from certain regions keep to themselves. These ethnic spheres may be due to their quest to feel a sense of familiarity, connection, to stick to their tradition, values, to share cultural foods as there is a certain disconnect one feels when you move to a different country
Visible minority concentration vary by neighborhood in Vancouver, a demographic data does prove this. In places like East Vancouver there are higher visible minority concentrations than Vancouver west side. Higher visible minority concentrations are also found in nearby suburbs such as Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby and New west.
The Vancouver sun created unique online maps that accurately show Metro Vancouver neighborhoods. It shows where people of South Asian, Chinese, Filipino, English and many other ethnic origins make their homes.
Personally, I'd love to say the food service industry does encourage a blending of cultures. A couple of days ago, I interviewed a Vancouver resident of over 15 years on this subject, although her views are different, here is what she had to say . "In my opinion I think not. But I think that's because Vancouver is so click base. Like if you go to Richmond, you're only going to see restaurants tailored to the Asian demographics. So often times if you're not Asian, you kinda feel there's no place for you. Downtown Vancouver gives you a variety, I guess. Like you can go down different streets and see different types of restaurants. But once again, it's still very click based. White people go to restaurants tailored to them, Asians their own, et cetera, et cetera".
There are different restaurants from a bunch of ethnic groups dispersed across the lower mainland. Restaurants, which I believe serve as an opportunity for one to explore different cultures. I have tried to Mexican, Asian, Caucasian cuisines which have given me a feel of their cultures through food.
Vancouver is a culturally diverse city inhabiting people from all walks of life with unique experiences. Although, Vancouver may seem diverse but it leans towards the cosmopolitan side as opposed to being multicultural.
What do you think of Vancouver in terms of multiculturalism? Do you think people make friendships beyond their ethnic groups? I'd love to see your comments?