Immigrant Francophones & Canadian Francophones: the complexities of shared geographies in Ottawa-Gatineau and Toronto

Authors: Brian Ray*, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Ottawa, Luisa Veronis, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Ottawa, Anne Gilbert, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics, University of Ottawa
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Urban Geography, Ethnic Geography
Keywords: Immigrants, French, Francophone, residential, integration
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 24
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


For several decades, the Canadian government has encouraged Francophone immigration in an effort to bolster the size of the Canadian-born francophone population outside of Quebec. One implicit assumption of this program is that immigrant and Canadian-born francophones will eventually coalesce to create communities due to a shared language and involvement in common institutions such as schools and cultural organizations. In this paper, we investigate the degree of residential integration among Canadian-born and immigrant francophones in two Ontario cities that are the destination of most francophone immigrants: Ottawa-Gatineau and Toronto. The study draws on 2016 Canadian census micro-level data and both statistical and GIS analyses are used to examine the degree to which the two communities share residential space. In both metropolitan areas, English is the dominant language of work and daily life. Ottawa-Gatineau, however, has a far more established francophone community than Toronto with well-established neighbourhoods, while Toronto is the leading immigrant gateway for new immigrants, including francophones from around the world. The degree to which Canadian-born and immigrant francophones live together is not clear in either city; nor is the degree of residential mixing or separation between different francophone ethnocultural groups. This paper has three principal goals: to examine the degree to which the two francophone communities live together or apart; to investigate the degree of similarity between the residential geographies of francophone immigrants, other newcomer groups and the English-language majority; and to characterize the socio-economic status of neighbourhoods occupied by francophone groups.

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