A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
Episodes Search Site Map The Series Partners White Pine White Pine Home


General History

Obstacles

Although approximately 12% of the Iranian immigrants who came to Canada during the 1970's were entrepreneurs and investors, many more came to escape the political uncertainty and war that was plaguing the Middle East. Others came with little money and limited knowledge of either official language. Unlike other immigrant groups coming to Canada, there was no established Iranian community to help the new immigrants settle into the new culture.

The majority settled in the North York suburb of Toronto.8 Their children entered the school system, with little or no English, and a totally different cultural background. During the 1980's and 90's, many of the Iranian immigrants arriving had been traumatized by war.

They had to adapt to a country that had been at peace since World War II, a country that had never been bombed or suffered the losses that Iran had felt. Since the fall of their monarchy, Iran had been under the strict, almost middle-ages-religious fundamentalism of the Ayatollah. They were coming from a country in which discrimination, due to ethnic background, was a way of life - - a country that had prescribed set roles for men and women.

While many were highly educated, often they had to upgrade their qualifications to make them comparable to Canadian standards. Many of the Iranians who came to Canada had lived in other countries after leaving Iran, and brought with them a cosmopolitan tradition which benefitted Canada. The tendency of other ethnic groups who settled in Canadian cities was to gather in one specific area of the city. Their neighbourhood took on the feel and tone of that group. This was not the case with the Iranians. There is no "Little Iran" in Toronto. Since the immigrants come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds, such as Fars (majority), Azanis, Kurds, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Lons, Turksmens and Baluchis, they spread out across cities like Toronto where 56% of Canada's Iranian immigrants reside.

Previous Page - - Next Page