Top 4 Cities to Immigrate to in Canada if You're Asian

One of the hallmarks of North American life is the fact that whether you live in the United States or Canada, you’re living in a nation which was not only built by immigrants, but likewise given its character by them as well.  You can’t think of metropolises such as New York, Los Angeles or Toronto without thinking of the vast number of different ethnicities and groups which have carved out special places for themselves in the overarching narrative of their city and nation’s respective cultures.  Say “Chinatown” and you conjure up an image of a people, place, and time which is as alive in its present as it was in its storied past.

The last 125 years has seen a steady stream of immigrants “Coming to America” (and Canada) from Asia.  This trend has only accelerated over the last 25 years, as the makeup of both the United States and Canada becomes increasingly diverse. 

Making up as much as 15% of the overall Canadian population, Asian-Canadians are the largest “visible minority” in Canada.  They’ve carved out a place for themselves in Canadian society, and have created notable sub-communities throughout the provinces.  Chinese-Canadians are the largest sub-minority within then overarching term “Asian-Canadians,” followed closely by Indian-Canadians.

The question remains, however— where are the best places for those looking to immigrate to the Great White North from Greater East Asia?  Here to help four of the most popular and populous locales for Asian expatriates in Canada.



Canoe Landing Park, Toronto via

Toronto [Public Domain]

More than a third of Toronto’s citizenry can trace its lineage back to an Asian country, making it a definite hotspot for incoming immigrants currently living on the continent proper.  What’s more, Toronto, in its very social makeup is one of the most cosmopolitan and diverse cities in North America, meaning that immigrants aren’t just welcome, but part of the fabric of Toronto society, and just part of life in the greater Ontario area.

Toronto Top 10 Immigrants

That’s one factor which is often overlooked when immigrating to another city and country.  You do definitely want to choose somewhere that’s “used” to receiving immigrants, and therefore has a social mindset which is more amenable to newcomers than a more homogenized area.  Take Quebec, for example.  Quebec is notorious for being extremely proud about its unique sense of place and cultural distinctiveness apart from the rest of nation; indeed, those from the region are often at least as proud of being “from Quebec” as they are “from Canada,” and identify with the former at least as much if not more than the latter.  This is a classic case of a homogenized community, forged over hundreds of years, and while the unique “sense of place” and comradeship which emerges from that is admirable, it also makes it all the harder for newcomers to make their way and find acceptance, in much the same way as it can be difficult to penetrate an extremely close-knit clique.  

Ethnic Background Number Percentage of Total Immigrants in Toronto
Chinese 132,145 10.55%
Filipino 102,520 8.19%
Indian 78,870 6.30%
Sri Lankan 59,220 4.73%
Italian 53,485 4.27%
Jamaican 45,670 3.65%
English, Scottish or Welsh 45,260 3.61%
Portuguese 39,525 3.16%
Hongkonger 39,340 3.14%
Guyanese 36,995 2.95%

Source: StatsCan

The lesson here?  If you’re planning on immigrating, to Canada, the US, the UK or anywhere else, and are coming from Asia, the Middle East, India, etc., you want to try and pick out a place that’s more like Toronto, where not only is there likely to be members of your own group waiting there to welcome you, but where immigration is as central to the region’s identity as homogenized traditions are to rural Quebec. 

Immigrate to Ontario



Vancouver Chinatown by vanrite

Vancouver's Chinatown by vanrite17 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

At least one article has cited Vancouver as “the most Asian city outside Asia,” and white it faces stiff competition from Seattle and San Francisco Stateside for that title, it’s more than up to the challenge.  The article in question, from The Vancouver Sun, illustrates just one of the many reasons Vancouver is arguably the prime destination for Asian immigrants in Canada.  The culture there’s heavily influenced by Asian immigration, with reports that as much as 43% of the Vancouver community is at least somewhat linked to Asia in terms of heritage.  Everything from music to art to sports and that all-important realm of NHL hockey is influenced by immigration.

Top 10 Immigrants Vancouver

ethnic Background Number (City Only) Percentage of Immigrants in Vancouver (City Not Metro)
Chinese 66,435 25.68%
Filipino 27,560 10.65
Hongkonger 26,635 10.29%
English, Scottish or Welsh 13,405 5.18%
Indian 13,110 5.07%
Vietnamese 11,960 4.62%
Taiwanese 10,515 4.06%
American 8,815 3.41%
Persian 5,745 2.22%
Korean   1.95%

Source: StatsCan

Immigrate to Vancouver



Chinatown in Montreal By Chris Dlugosz (Flickr: Montreal - china town) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Montreal's Chinatown by Chris Dlugosz / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Some may be surprised to see Montreal on this list, and indeed, this is more directed towards those of Chinese descent and those around the China/Laos area of East Asia, but it’s nevertheless true that Montreal has seen a great number of such immigrants fill its Francophone streets over the past few decades.  Quebec is notable for having such a strong sense of place, analogous in a sense to the United States South.  That being said, there are already sizeable Chinese and Laotian-Canadian communities in Montreal, making the transition easier.  What’s more, part of the reason Quebec sometimes feels “apart” from the rest of Canada is the fact that natives it’s a French-speaking region in an otherwise Anglophone, English-influenced culture.  As such, immigrants from Asia aren’t any more “different” from the Francophone mainstream in the region than English-speakers.

Top 10 Immigrants Montreal

Add to that the fact that Montreal, after a lull in the mid-2000s, is once again a city on the rise, and you have a prime—if somewhat surprising—immigration destination for members of Asian countries looking to immigrate to a Canadian city other than the aforementioned, obvious choices of Toronto and Vancouver.

Ethnic Background Number Percentage of Immigrants in Montreal
Haitian 44,220 8.22%
Italian 42,845 7.96%
Algerian 33,270 6.18%
Moroccan 28,820 5.35%
French 27,940 5.19%
Chinese 24,910 4.63%
Vietnamese 18,745 3.48%
Lebanense 18,640 3.46%
Filipino 16,065 2.98%
Romanian 11,005 2.04%

Source: StatsCan

While Chinese and Filipino immigrants are two of the largest and most prominent subgroups in the greater Asian-Canadian community, there is a strong Pakistani community throughout the provinces, particularly here and in places like the next choice…



Calgary by

Calgary by Cszmurlo / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5

Calgary often gets overshadowed by the Big Three of Vancouver, Seattle, and San Francisco when it comes to great West Coast havens for Asian immigrants.  In one sense, however, that’s part of what makes it such an appealing alternative.  If you’re looking for an area with a strong East Asian presence that’s not as “obvious” as Toronto or Vancouver but still not somewhere completely off the beaten path, Calgary could be just the place for you.  Indian and Pakistani-Canadians in particular have carved out a special place for themselves.  If you know anything about world politics, than you’ll know that India and Pakistan aren’t exactly always on the best of terms, so to see immigrants from those nations peacefully coexist in a place like Calgary is a definite plus, and something that we can take rejoice in.  More than 500,000 of greater Calgary’s inhabitants are from some part of the Asian continent, making them a large and important part of the community.

Top 10 Immigrants Calgary

All in all, Calgary is definitely worth a look if you yourself live in Asia and have your sights turned Westward towards the Great White North, and that famous Canadian hospitality.

Ethnic Background Number Percent of Immigrants in Calgary
Flipino 33,060 11.06%
Indian 30,120 10.08%
Chinese 29,495 9.87%
English, Scottish or Welsh 21,905 7.33%
Vietnamese 14,035 4.70%
Pakistani 11,250 3.76%
American 10,925 3.66
Hongkonger 9,920 3.32
Polish 6,300 2.11%
German 5,900 1.97

Source: Stats Can

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