Toronto Latinos

Toronto Latino

Article from LAC

Latin American Canadians

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How it all began,

Latin America refers to a group of republics including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Puerto Rico, the French West Indies, and other islands of the West Indies may also be considered part of “Latin America.” The broader use of the term can also refer to counties where romance languages such as Spanish or Portuguese prevail.


The first wave of Latin American immigrants to Canada arrived between 1970 and 1973. (Official figures show that Canada’s total Latin American population was less than 3000 before 1970.) The influx of Latin Americans (some 68 000) in the early 1970s can be partly attributed to Canada’s “open door IMMIGRATION POLICY. From 1969 to 1972 it was possible to arrive in Canada as a tourist without a visa and later apply for landed immigrant status from within the country. At the same time, due to a growing demand for labourers (see IMMIGRANT LABOUR), Canada relaxed its immigration requirements. Argentinean immigrants, who before 1970 had arrived at a rate of 200 yearly, numbered 948 in 1973, 1088 in 1974 and 674 in 1975. The vast majority of Chilean political REFUGEES immigrated to Canada by way of Argentina after the overthrow of the Allende regime. From 1963 to 1973, only 2135 persons were recorded as emigrants from Chile; by 1976, there were 4600 people who had immigrated to Canada as part of the Special Chilean Movement initiated by the Canadian government. During the early 1970s about 20 000 Ecuadorians in search of a better life immigrated to Canada, primarily to Montréal and Toronto. By the late 1980s several hundred Central Americans had arrived as refugees.