Punjabis in Canada – Home Away from Home
Punjabi Canadians, are Canadian citizens whose heritage originates wholly or partly in Punjab, which encompasses India and Pakistan. There are large Punjabi communities in British Columbia, especially Surrey, and in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario.
By 1906, there were 1,500 Sikh workers living in Canada, almost entirely from Punjab. Punjabis avoided the Anti-Oriental Riots of 1907 by staying indoors. Punjabi Canadians began occupying all areas of Vancouver in the 1960s. In the 1970s Punjabi populations began appearing in Delta, Richmond, and Surrey. Vandalism against houses owned by Indo-Canadians and a Sikh Gurdwara occurred in the 1970s, especially in 1974-1975 in Surrey.
In Metro Vancouver, 5.5% of residents reported speaking Punjabi at home, as of 2011. 21.3% of Surrey residents speak it as their primary language at home. In Ontario, Punjabi Canadians are prevalent in the Greater Toronto Area, especially in Scarborough, Markham, Mississauga, Brampton, and Ajax.Punjabi is the third most spoken language of the Parliament of Canada.
During the early stages of Punjabi immigration to Canada, most pioneers were of the Sikh faith. Today, Punjabi Canadians remain mostly Sikh, however also include large numbers of Muslims and smaller numbers of Hindus and Christians.