‘Everybody fits in’: inside the Canadian cities where minorities are the majority
In majority-minority cities such as Markham and Brampton, diversity isnt aspirational; its a fact. But how does integration work?
The Foody Mart in Markham, a sprawling city near Toronto, is found in a typical North American suburban plaza, sprinkled with fast-food chains, nail salons and a small legal firm. But look closely and you will notice the malls parking signs are in Chinese and the bank serves customers in Cantonese and Mandarin.
Inside the Foody Mart, there are shelves of salted duck eggs, air-shipped mangosteen and durian. Staff hand out samples of fish balls and regulars drink bubble tea alongside young families enjoying hot meals from the takeaway counter,as Shanghai pop plays over the speakers.
This is just one of many large grocers that serve the Chinese population in Canadas most diverse city. With a population of 330,000, Markham is one of a handful of majority-minority cities, where visible minorities the official term used in Canada for anyone who is not white or indigenous make up 78% of the citys population, according to the 2016 census.
Stores such as the Foody Mart did not exist when Jennifer Chin first moved to Markham in 1991. Born in Jamaica, Chin, 53, is ethnically Chinese, as is her husband. They raised three children while running a business manufacturing Jamaican patties, often described as a quintessentially Torontonian snack.