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Migration and immigration changing Vancouver into "city of strangers"

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From strangers to citizens

The difficulty of connection can be found at other levels as well. In a recent piece by Vancouver Foundation CEO Faye Wightman, the sense of disconnect is felt at a much deeper community level as well.

People from all walks of life overwhelmingly talked about what they saw as growing isolation in Metro Vancouver. Isolated communities within communities. Isolated neighbours within neighbourhoods [...] And according to a 2010 Angus Reid survey, despite our high use of social media, B.C. residents are among the loneliest people in Canada.”

"Vancouver has had a reputation as one of the most aloof, least friendly cities in Canada for years now," wrote Globe and Mail writer Gary Mason. While a variety of factors contribute to this reputation, the fact that many people -- regardless of class or ethnicity -- have settled in Vancouver from outside the province may be an underlying reason for this. 

So how can Vancouver change from a city of strangers into a city of citizens?

Arts and culture can help bridge some of those gaps and create a common sense of identity, Yan suggests. Some grassroots groups such as Urban Ink Productions have made it their mandate to produce culturally diverse work, but much more work needs to be done to create common ground among Vancouverites. 

Statistics suggest that the issue isn't about race or cultural background: Toronto's visible minority rate is at 46.9 per cent, higher than Vancouver's current 42 per cent.

Because such a low proportion of people in Vancouver share a common history or background, however, the challenge of finding common ground among locals may be larger in the years to come than anywhere else in Canada. 



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