Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Toronto's Language Quilt

The Toronto Star published a set of maps in 2007 showing the second language (after English) for more than 1000 neighborhoods in the Greater Toronto Area. The map (based on 2006 Census data) is a nice, colorful illustration of where different immigrant groups chose to settle - although languages such as Spanish and Portuguese (and even Chinese to some extent) don't tell you much about where those settlers really came from. The original map is pretty large - here are some smaller images from Bricoleurbanism.

Particularly striking and unexpected (to me) is the number of Italians. Although many of the green neighborhoods are lower density suburbs creating a false illusion of dominance, Italian is still the largest
second language with almost three times as many speakers as French. The dull, generic gray color used for French (mostly in the far eastern part of the region) minimizes the visual importance of Canada's second language, whether intentionally or not.

Three neighborhoods where English is not the first language are highlighted with circles and expanded on.
I made a screen shot of the main urban area to show some of the patterns of diversity that are less apparent from the large map. These patterns include Greek (black) in the east, Portuguese (light blue) in the west and various eastern Asian languages, mostly east and north of downtown. There are also numerous French speaking areas, if I'm interpreting the generic gray correctly.
The entire map can be downloaded from the Star here.

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