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A Multi-Ethnic City
Trick question: which is the world's most multi-ethnic city? London? New York? Paris? Amsterdam? Singapore? None of them. The surprising answer is Toronto, Canada's commercial powerhouse, which began its existence as a fur-trading post in the 18th century. Though it is relatively small by metropolitan standards—with a population of less than four million—have a look at its ethnic composition: close to half a million are Chinese, about 4,50,000 are Indians, another 1,50,000 Pakistanis (most of the city's taxi-drivers are Pakistani Punjabis), and roughly the same number of Sri Lankan Tamils. There are also quite a few Bangladeshis, Arabs, Caribbeans and Vietnamese. "Over half the people here are non-White", reveals Satish Mehta, our well-informed consul general. You cannot say that of any other city in the western world. And you would think it would be a sure recipe for communal tension, even for riots, as happened in Paris last year. But you would be wrong. Toronto's ethnic minorities live together amicably. None of them have been ghettoised. Spurred by Canada's economic success, they, too, have prospered. I did not see a single non-White beggar, only a few White ones.