Where do Indians Live in Canada?

Table of Contents

What are the best locations for Indian nationals looking to immigrate to Canada? Let’s take a look.


India is, without a doubt, one of the marvels of the 21st century from an economic standpoint, especially when viewed in the context of where it was just a century ago.  In 1917, India was still part of the British Empire, same as Canada.  For hundreds of years, India had been under British control, and had served as the crown jewel for the Eastern portion of the Empire in many ways, a great many of which did not, in turn, benefit the local Indians all that much.  Even following the incredible success of the immortal Mahatma Gandhi’s revolutionary non-violent form of protest which in turn let to, well, a revolution, there were doubts about whether or not a nation with such a massive population and internal strife could even feed itself, let alone compete.

And here we are, in 2018, when the question isn’t if India can compete with Canada, the US, the UK, and the rest of the West, but, indeed, how those nations can keep up with the massive manufacturing boom that’s occurring in India.  To be clear, not all the manufacturing jobs in the region benefit the overall economy rather than Western interests, but that’s a story for another day.  Today, we’re focusing on what happens after just about any nation undergoes the sort of radical transformation India has in the last century—immigration and emigration.  The forces of change have led many to leave India as foreign businesses have arrived.

So, what are the best locations for Indian nationals looking to immigrate to Canada?  Let’s take a look.



Top 10 Immigrants Toronto

(Numbers from 2011 Census)

First of all, it should be noted that even the term “Indian-Canadian” is something of a misnomer.  India is such a huge and vast subcontinent and country that there are a litany of different ethnicities, languages, cultures, religions and traditions within that overarching umbrella term of “Indian.”  That being said, the Canadian government largely tags these groups as all being “Indian-Canadian,” and in any case, no matter what Indian culture you belong to, you’re sure to find a community waiting for you in Toronto.  One of the most immigrant-friendly cities in North America, more than half of the entire Indian-Canadian population resides in Toronto.  It is home to a wide variety of different Indian cultures, meaning that you have a good chance of finding fellow Indian nationals who more closely fit your own linguistic, cultural, and religious background, rather than merely immigrating somewhere with the semi-helpful moniker of “Indian-Canadian” to guide you.

Country of Birth Total – 2011 Percentage of Total Immigrants in Toronto – 2011
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%
Pakistan 33,035 2.64%
Bangladesh 20,100 1.61%

Source: StatsCan

As English-speaking Canada’s most world-renowned city, Toronto is home to not just the majority of the nation’s Indian-Canadian population—and all the subcultures therein—but likewise has some of the largest and most important Indian structures in the nation.  The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Toronto is the nation’s largest Hindu Temple, while the Ontario Khalsa Darbar is Canada’s largest Sikh gurdwara.



Top 10 Immigrants Vancouver

(Numbers from 2011 census)

Vancouver is one of the most popular North American immigration locales, period.  This is especially true of individuals looking to immigrate to the Pacific Northwest, Canada, or both.

Country of Birth Total – 2011 (City Only) Percentage of Immigrants in Vancouver – 2011 (City Not Metro)
China 66,435 25.68%
Philippines 27,560 10.65
Hong Kong 26,635 10.29%
United Kingdom 13,405 5.18%
India 13,110 5.07%
Vietnam 11,960 4.62%
Taiwan 10,515 4.06%
United States 8,815 3.41%
Iran 5,745 2.22%
Korea 5,045 1.95%

Source: StatsCan

Vancouver is home to a large Punjabi and Sikh minority.  This is notable, as the latter in particular has had difficulty assimilating into American and Canadian society.  Hindus are also welcome in Vancouver.  Festivals, temples, and large-scale public celebrations of all different forms of Indian heritage and culture are present in the crown jewel of British Columbia.  The nearby town of Abbotsford is home to the Gur Sikh Temple.  Constructed in 1911, it is the oldest Sikh temple in North America.


Greater Vancouver

Top 10 Immigrants Surrey

(Numbers from 2011 census)

One of the many reasons the Pacific Northwest has sprung to life over the past few decades has been its booming computer and tech industries, both of which are likewise huge in India as well.  As such, if you’re looking to immigrate to the Pacific Northwest for business opportunities in these fields but do not wish to move to a larger city such as Vancouver or Seattle in the United States, you may want to try Surrey, a smaller but Indian-friendly locale also located in British Columbia.

Country of Birth Total – 2011 Percentage of Immigrants in Surrey (2011)
India 70,680 37.63%
Pakistan 4,320 2.30%
Sri Lanka 1,055 0.56%

Source: StatsCan

Surrey is especially welcoming to Indian Sikhs, with as much as 16.3% of the population reporting as such, an impressive number anywhere in North America, especially in the Great White North.  April 13th is given over to the celebration of Vaisakhi, an important festival for both Sikhs and the Punjab region of India as a whole, and one which historically commemorates the start of the harvest while carrying strong religious undertones for those of practising Sikhism.  In 2008, as many as 100,000 attended.  As such, if you’re a Sikh looking to immigrate to the Pacific Northwest for a fresh start or to take advantage of the booming tech sector, Surrey may prove to be a terrific fit.



Top 10 Immigrants Calgary

(Numbers from 2011 census)

Around or more than 5% of the entire Indian-Canadian community reside in the city of Calgary.  The city itself has been in the midst of some interesting economic times given its ties to the oil refinement industry.  As noted above, immigration is often the result of individuals holding degrees or possessing training which they feel will yield more lucrative results elsewhere.  As such, with Calgary so tied into the highly-important tech industry as it pertains to the usage and refinement of oil, Indians from across the subcontinent have likewise found their way there as well, working in the many sectors which have helped Calgary begin to recover from the 2008 Recession which hit so much of the world.

Ethnic Background Total – 2011 Percent of Immigrants in Calgary – 2011
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
Bangladesh 2,265 0.76%
Sri Lanka 1,495 0.50%

Source: Stats Can

Notably, Calgary is also home to a significant portion of Muslims.  The relations between Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims across India, Bangladesh and Pakistan is a long and problematic one, but thankfully members from all three groups have found a way to coexist in peace in Calgary.  As such, if you happen to be a Muslim living in India and are looking for somewhere to pursue economic opportunities while not having to face the scrutiny many Muslims still face in larger Indian society today, then Calgary might be the right fit for you.

Also find these contents interesting