Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Best Multilingual Cities In Canada

Since we covered the best multilingual cities in Europe last week, we felt it was only right to look at some North American cities this weekend. Today we're covering Canada, and tomorrow we'll head south into the US. Let's start our visit with Vancouver.

English Bay, Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia - If you leave Vancouver heading west you'll end up in "the East". Vancouver's proximity (it is only a few thousand miles, after all!) to Asia has helped cultivate some of the immigration that has left one of the World's Most Livable Cities with a huge Asian population and, as a result, Chinese and Cantonese as very popular languages within the city.

Aside from Mandarin and Cantonese, Punjabi, Persian, Tagalog, Korean, Italian, German, and French can also be heard in Vancouver. Despite French also being an official language of Canada, Mandarin and Cantonese are more popular in this area.

Toronto, Ontario - Given that Ontario borders Québec, Canada's principally French-speaking province, you can expect Toronto to have a fairly mixed bag when it comes to languages. Often confused as being the capital by ignorant foreigners (and a few poorly-educated Canadians), Toronto has very multicultural surroundings which can be found leaking into the city and government.

Ottawa, Ontario - Sitting right next to Québec, Canada's actual capital city has its own motto in both English and French. Advance-Ottawa-En Avant represents the country's two official languages, and the University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual university in the world.

Olympic Stadium in Montréal, which features
the tallest inclined tower in the world.
Montréal, Québec - As you could guess by the accent on the letter e, Montréal, or Montreal when Anglicised, is the largest city in the province of Québec. Recently the city has been in the headlines as a centre of controversy following multilingual political upheaval and the language debate within Québec. The famed Pastagate scandal following the over-Francofication of the city and tensions between French-speaking and English-speaking communities has been tarnishing Montréal's reputation.

That said, Montréal is a wonderful melting pot of French and English cultures, not to mention that Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, and Arabic can also be heard around the streets of the world's second largest French-speaking city.

That concludes our quick trip across Canada. Are than any multilingual cities you feel we may have missed? Tell us about them in the comments below! Tomorrow we're heading south into the US.