If there’s one word to describe the communities in Malvern, Highland Creek and West Hill, it would be diverse. Looking back, all of our spring issues this year contained stories covering an array of ethnic cultures. Some of them include stories on the African heritage assembly at Woburn C.I., the Chinese New Year celebrations, the Sri Lankan conflict, the Jamaican Canadian Association awards and the opening of a youth immigration centre.
My observation, however, is not surprising. Statistics on the city’s website show that the top visible minority groups in Ward 38, 43 and 44 are South Asian, Black, Filipino, Chinese, West Asian and Southeast Asian.
But there’s no need for statistics to prove the existence of multiculturalism in this area. A short walk along the local plaza will help someone notice the region’s high cultural diversity. Not only can I shop at stores from various nationalities within minutes, I can also eat different ethnic dishes without switching restaurants. But diversity has a lot more to offer to the area than simply satisfying consumers. Award ceremonies, musicals and community outreach give residents the opportunity to learn about other cultures while sharing their own.
In one of my recent interviews, Lori Metcalfe of West Hill Community Services and Iain Duncan of Action for Neighbourhood Change explained that the Kingston-Galloway community is mainly composed of minorities. They said many newcomers visit their offices to find information on the area and services available to them.
All of this confirms that the Observer’s coverage on diversity is no coincidence. Malvern, Highland Creek and West Hill are composed of communities with different ethnic backgrounds. Their events and engagement become the content of news stories.
I knew this district was multicultural and thought it would be easy for anyone to realize it. But, there’s a difference between knowing and understanding. It’s only now that I understand the composition of the area. It’s not merely a diversity of cultures—it’s a diversity of perspectives, customs and stories.
It’s through the process of hearing and telling the stories of these communities that I have acquired a greater understanding of the region. The objective of communicating their stories is to allow readers to go beyond concepts such as diversity and expose them to what they truly signify.