i came across some interesting thematic maps on statistic canada's website. the follow show the proportion of visible minorities (non-whites) in four of canada's largest cities.


the city of vancouver and the adjacent suburb of richmond are already majority asian; another large suburb, burnaby, will likely achieve this distinction in the next few years. what sticks out here are the areas that are predominantly white. kisilano, immediately to the left of the downtown peninsula, is exceptionally white, boasting what appear to be the two least diverse census tracts in central vancouver. new westminster, on the bottom right, is also a strange case.


montreal is a study in contrasts: the off-island suburbs and the island's east end are heavily white, but the city's north and west ends are extremely diverse. neighbourhoods like côte-des-neiges, which is dead centre in the large map, are home to more than a hundred ethnicities, yet the heavily gentrified central plateau is one of the whitest parts of montreal. there are exceptions, of course: brossard, the blue area on the right, is a rapidly growing ethnoburb with a large chinese population; the northern west island, seen on the bottom left, is another ethnic suburban area with large black and south asian populations.

as a whole, montreal is the whitest of canada's big three cities. it isn't any less diverse, though, so what's going on? basically, it missed out on the mass asian immigration that completely transformed vancouver and toronto in the late 1980s and 90s. montreal's economic depression in that period limited immigration. it still recieves many immigrants from 'white' countries, too, such as france. but montreal is catching up: its largest source of immigrants is china, and tens of thousands of people from haiti, algeria and india pour into the city each year.


calgary is often perceived to be a homogenous city and this shows why: large parts of the city are extremely white. its diversity -- and it is a diverse place, with immigrants from a large number of countries -- is by and large concentrated in one section of the city: the northeast, where many south asian and east asian immigrants live. the northwest also appears to be becoming quite diverse -- a developing ethnoburb, perhaps? also note the only spot of blue in the overwhelmingly white south side of the city: signal hill, on the far left, which has a significant chinese population.


toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. more immigrants settle in this one city each year than any other in north america except los angeles. both suburbs and city are thoroughly diverse. as with vancouver, however, it's the thoroughly white pockets that stick out here; unlike vancouver, though, where the predominantly white areas are likely to be quite waspy, toronto's white parts of town are probably dominated by european immigrants. the exception would be rosedale and forest hill, bastions of old money.

more maps and information can be found here.