Telling…

This map represents the majority ethnic group per census division in Canada as of 2006

I love maps, demographics and am a huge fan of the long-form census.

Why yes, I am a geek!

Take a good long look at this map – I recommend following this link. for additional details and to get the best possible look. Study it carefully and you will see there are only ten different ethnicities which can claim majority status in a given census division. The overwhelming majority of respondents on the 2006 long-form census self-identified as ‘Canadian’ (roughly 32% of the total population, and 66% of the population of Quebec identified as such, either uniquely or with additional ancestries), and are represented in red on the map above. Notice who identifies primarily as ‘Canadian’. And there was space on the census to write in your own nationality, such as Québecois, which was reported by some respondents in Québec, though only by a comparatively small number.

I found it interesting that there are two districts where the majority population is East Indian, though neither of these districts are in the Greater Vancouver Area, despite what some people may tell you. Curiously, there is no census division where Chinese or East Asians made up the majority, which again might floor the people who were embittered by the presence of so-called Yacht People. That said, there are about 1.3 million Chinese-Canadians, more than 25% of whom were born here, and East Asians as a whole represented more than 6% of the total population.

The majority of self-described Canadian reside in Québec, Eastern Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. There are two census divisions that identify primarily as French – part of Cape Breton near the Fortress of Louisbourg and the former Port-Royal, and the area near Cold Lake, Alberta! You’ll notice as well that people living in extreme Southwestern Ontario (i.e., Windsor and Chatham area, near Detroit) also primarily identify as Canadian (as opposed to English, Scottish, German etc). This in turn made me realize that all of Canada’s principally, historically Black communities (such as those you will find in Southwestern Ontario or Nova Scotia) also seem to overwhelmingly prefer identifying as Canadian first. And who said multiculturalists can’t find a unifying cultural banner? Welcome to Canada, where nationalism is pan-national.

Also, despite having the largest concentration of Icelanders outside Iceland (located primarily around Gimli Manitoba), they aren’t numerous enough to form an ethnic majority in that division. There are no primarily Irish, Jewish, Dutch, Polish, Russian, Norwegian or Arab districts in Canada, despite the large size of these communities across the country. There is however one principally Italian district in the 905 region of Toronto. Neat eh?

But when looking at this map ask yourself a question: why do so many apparently patriotic, Conservative-voting Western Canadians fail to identify as such? Where does this personal, cultural insecurity come from? Are we an English country, a British country? Or are a nation partially born of Great Britain, partially of France, but ultimately evolving into its own, unique, entity?

Telling though it is, it leaves many unanswered questions…

Kondiaronk Book Reviews {No.1} – Montreal: The Unknown City

Montreal: The Unknown City by Kristian and John David Gravenor

This is the book that first introduced me to Montr̩al Рand I was born here.

It’s a little bit of everything; an almanac, a guide-book – in some cases it’s like a highly-localized Ripley’s Believe it or Not, albeit better documented.

But more than anything else the Brothers Gravenor manage to gather a massive quantity of information and weave it into a cohesive series of vignettes, presenting the Montréal hiding in the recesses, shedding light on the nooks and crannies of our City, it’s society, culture and history. It’s an excellent travel guide to Montréal for those who want to get to know the real city and not just the typical tourist destinations. And for those with adventure in their hearts, they will discover the anecdotes, the history myths and fables of our community. On the whole, this singular book provides an answer to the question, why is Montréal a major cultural centre, and what propels the Montréal style, in the creative and fine arts, in architecture, literature etc? In sum, what is it about Montréal as a city that feeds so many creative minds? If nothing else, this compendium will provide countless hours of enjoyable, casual reading and provide an immense wealth of knowledge, not to mention the settings, scenarios, scenes and characters to generate a torrent of creative content. And if you’re unfamiliar with said content, never fear, as the book is also a compendium of all manners of local film, television, visual arts, bands etc.

With regards to the style of the book, I find it invites the reader to do additional research, even if that might be no more than simply looking it up on Wikipedia or Google. I know Kristian makes great use of the on-line Montreal Gazette archives in addition to an on-line copy of the Lovell’s Directory to unearth hyper precise information, and also runs the successful Coolopolis blog. I find the book reads like a blog in the same fashion that a blog would use hyperlinks to open new windows onto a given subject. There’s a palpable feeling that the authors want you to take it upon yourself to go out and discover the city’s history and culture on your own terms, to see it for the first time through your own eyes. At least that’s what I did, and I’ll be forever grateful to the authors for this gem. A must-read.