As last year’s census confirmed the rise of Chinese, Filipino and South Asian communities in Ontario and the western provinces, the Eastern part of the country (Québec, the Maritimes and major cities in Ontario) are increasingly becoming home to another group: Arabic speakers. In the Maritimes and Québec, Arabic has become the most common non-official language spoken in homes.

There are over 125 000 people who understand Arabic in Toronto, home to one in five Arabic Canadians, making up 2% of the city’s population and 4% of non-official language speakers. In terms of ethnic origins, Egyptians top the list of Arabs in Toronto, followed by Lebanese, Iraqis, Syrians and Palestinians.

Several Arab businesses have expanded over a two-kilometre stretch on Toronto’s Lawrence Avenue, serving their community and many others who enjoy the unique flavors of Middle Eastern and North African foods such as hummus, tabbouleh, falafel, pita bread and other niche products.

For marketers – a national Arabic language campaign must include Toronto, but targeting is important. Our analysts can help you scope out ethnic media to reach the highest number of potential customers in their mother tongue.

The French Connection

Among all other Canadian locations, Montréal stands as the true nerve center for Arab communities in the country. Its metropolitan area, which includes suburbs like Laval, is home to an impressive 241 000 Arabic speakers, making up 38% of Canada’s Arab population. The French nature of Québec naturally attracts those who also speak that language, as 75% of North African immigrants select Montréal as their new home.

Ottawa’s Lebanese community has approximately 30 000 members, making it the city with the highest percentage of Lebanese in the country. As a whole, the Arab community represents 6% of the metropolitan area’s population.

For marketers – Although most Arabs are Muslim, most early immigrants were Christians from Lebanon and Egypt. Experiential booths during religious celebrations like Ramadan and Christmas can be good platforms to increase your brand’s visibility among Arab Canadians. Remember that French can also be used for advertising to certain segments of the Arabic community!

The Maritimes

Descendants of the ancient masters of the seas called Phoenicians, many Lebanese have chosen seaside Halifax as their home. Its first Maronite Catholic church was founded in 1979, and it hosted the influential Maronite Youth Convention in 2017.

Within all non-European ethnic groups, the Lebanese are second only to the Chinese community in Halifax. Although Arab speakers make up only 2% of its population, this represents about a quarter of all non-native language speakers in that city!

Recognizing the importance of this growing segment of the population, Child Safety Link, a youth injury prevention program in Halifax, launched a car safety video in Arabic. It was timed one year after the arrival of a wave of Syrian immigrants.

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A Young Market of Family-based Communities

Being a relatively young community composed mostly of first-generation immigrants, many of which are married with children, the Arab community represents an excellent niche market to promote brands across the spectrum of everyday products and services such as groceries, vehicles, telecom, and banking.

Maple Diversity is committed to reach Canada’s ethnic communities according to each culture’s nuances and language. We have the expertise and the tools to create campaigns that resonate with your target audience and delivers results!