Chinese labourers began arriving in TORONTO once the Canadian Pacific Railway to the west coast had been constructed. They didn’t feel welcome in British Columbia, and so – around 1885 – headed east to Ontario looking for employment.
In 1894 TORONTO’s Chinese population numbered 50. Today there are about 550,000 Chinese people in the GTA, and there are 7 Chinatowns of various sizes serving our second-largest visible minority. Across North America, many Chinatowns are in decline, but in TORONTO they’re flourishing.
Arlene Chan’s new book – ‘The Chinese in Toronto From 1878: from outside to inside the circle’ – traces the history of our Chinese neighbourhoods from first arrivals to the present day. The Chinese community is very much inside the circle these days.