ABSTRACT

In recent years, Vancouver has been defined, represented and marketed as a city of newcomers: a diverse, multicultural city in which visitors and immigrants from all backgrounds are welcome. The latest census data reveal that foreign-born people account for 45.6 per cent of the population of the City of Vancouver and 39.6 per cent of the population of the Vancouver metropolitan area (Statistics Canada 2007b: 18-34). Two-thirds of the adult population are linked to immigration in some way, either because they immigrated themselves or because they were born in Canada to immigrant parents (UN-HABITAT 2006). Forty-one per cent of the residents of the Vancouver metropolitan area do not consider either English or French their mother tongue. The most important non-official mother tongues are the Chinese languages (including Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, and Taiwanese, among others), followed by Punjabi, Tagalog, Korean, German, Spanish, Farsi, and Hindi (Statistics Canada 2007a: 6-12).