The overseas Filipino community in Canada first began arriving in the 1970s. But in the last decade alone, the population of Filipinos has doubled in size, becoming the fastest growing overseas community in Canada!
Recent surveys show that many individuals in Canada who come from the Philippines are employed in industries such as health care, service industries, and technology. Taking a look at where the community has settled, many have made their new home in larger metropolitan areas.
If you’re considering moving away from the Philippines, there are plenty of towns and cities throughout Canada with communities from overseas, such as Winnipeg, Calgary, Montreal, and Edmonton. However, the biggest communities live in the Toronto and Vancouver areas.
Here’s more information on the major regions in Canada where the Philippines’ overseas community lives, along with events and organizations that have helped these communities feel welcome in Canada.
Greater Toronto Area
The greater Toronto metro area is home to over 62% of all Filipinos in Canada, with 282,385 residents who make up 6.0% of the area’s total population as of 2016. Tagalog is the most common non-English language in many of Toronto’s neighborhoods, and the Ilocano and Cebuano languages are also frequently heard around town.
Some of the highlights of Toronto’s unofficial “Little Manila” community include:
- Our Lady of the Assumption Parish (North York) – Since churches are important social centers of the Filipino community, Our Lady of the Assumption has played a key role in helping welcome newcomers in the Toronto area.
- Sampaguita Village Family Restaurant (North York) – This established family restaurant offers a taste of Filipino cuisine in Toronto for those craving food from home.
- The Filipino Centre Toronto (Scarborough) – This community center welcomes all people from the Philippines and celebrates Filipino cultural identity by hosting festivals and events throughout the year, while also helping newcomers feel at home in their new country.
- Pistahan sa Toronto – One of the annual celebrations sponsored by the Filipino Centre, this event honors Philippine Heritage Month by featuring musical acts, traditional foods, and fun vendors.
For a look at the delicious food in Toronto, check out this delicious bowl of lomi soup at Sampaguita Village Family Restaurant:
With the second-largest community of Filipinos from overseas, Vancouver has nearly 94,000 Filipino residents. Nearly 20% of Canada’s community of overseas Filipinos call the Vancouver area home.
Some of the most important events and organizations in Vancouver include:
- Pinoy Fiesta – Annually held in Memorial South Park each June, this event is billed as the biggest Filipino cultural event in Canada. Pinoy Fiesta features many musical, cultural and culinary attractions.
- The Kalayaan Centre – A non-profit community center that supports the rights of Filipino workers in Canada. Since 1996, they’ve shown support through assisting with social justice, welfare, and cultural traditions.
- The area has an active Facebook Community that features job posts and cultural events for fellow Vancouver-area Filipinos.
- Hapag Ihaw Ihaw – A restaurant in East Side Vancouver that provides a delicious taste of authentic Filipino cuisine.
Here’s a look at the festivities at the most recent Pinoy Fiesta in Vancouver!
All of these resources provide a great support network for individuals and families arriving to Canada from the Philippines. Filipinos have greatly enriched Canada’s culture and commerce with their contributions in both of these metro areas and nationwide.
Living far from home makes it hard to stay connected with family and be there to support them during difficult times or to celebrate the holidays. Up to 60% of Filipinos in Canada take advantage of money-sending services and the ability to send balikbayan boxes filled with foods and toiletries for friends and family in their hometowns overseas.