Diversity in our community leads to greater understanding

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.

Clearly visible
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.

Beyond concepts

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.

photo gallery
Local Tamil Paranivasagam Ranjithkanna talks to a Toronto Observer reporter about the conflict in Sri Lanka. (Monica Valencia/Torotno Observer)
Local Tamil Paranivasagam Ranjithkanna talks to a Toronto Observer reporter about the conflict in Sri Lanka. (Monica Valencia/Torotno Observer) (sri-240409)
Nathaniel McLarty receives an award for his contribution in the Jamaican community. (Monica Valencia/Torotno Observer)
Nathaniel McLarty receives an award for his contribution in the Jamaican community. (Monica Valencia/Torotno Observer) (jamaican-240409)
TDSB trustee Nadia Bello, MP John McKay, Councillor Ron Moeser and Newcomer Services project administrator Bantu Mutenka celebrate the opening of the new Kingston-Galloway centre for young newcomers.
TDSB trustee Nadia Bello, MP John McKay, Councillor Ron Moeser and Newcomer Services project administrator Bantu Mutenka celebrate the opening of the new Kingston-Galloway centre for young newcomers. (cake-210409)
Youth immigration centre's open house for celebrates culture in many ways, including giving free henna tattoos to guests.
Youth immigration centre's open house for celebrates culture in many ways, including giving free henna tattoos to guests. (henna-240409)
Students form an assembly to highlight the achievements and hardships in black culture.
Students form an assembly to highlight the achievements and hardships in black culture. (woburn-240409)
Dance group performs traditional dance at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.
Dance group performs traditional dance at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto. (chinese-new-year-240409)
Dancers and singers performed to a crowd of about 100 people, welcoming the year of the OX.
Dancers and singers performed to a crowd of about 100 people, welcoming the year of the OX. (chinese-new-year240209)
Lori Metcalfe of West Hill Community Services and Iain Duncan of Action for Neighbourhood Change say the Kingston-Galloway community is made up of many minorities.
Lori Metcalfe of West Hill Community Services and Iain Duncan of Action for Neighbourhood Change say the Kingston-Galloway community is made up of many minorities. (point-240409)