Tag Archives: Ontario

The Most Commonly Spoken Languages in Canada, Besides English and French

A couple of years ago, I came across an map that I found fascinating. It showed the most commonly spoken languages in the US (after English and Spanish). Some were fairly intuitive (French in Louisiana, Arabic in Michigan, etc.), but some forced me to think about the history (recent and past!) of a given state. For instance, I wouldn’t have guessed Chinese as the most commonly spoken language after English and Spanish in New York! I probably would have guessed Italian or Polish in thinking about the early immigrants to Ellis Island.

After seeing that post, it made me wonder what the most commonly spoken languages in Canada were (after English and French, of course). Sadly, my Google Fu kept turning up ‘snake eyes.’ It wasn’t until early last year that I saw tweet from Conrad Hackett, a demographer with the Pew Research Center, that linked to the very map I was looking for the year before. However, this map is even better, because it’s interactive!

The US map I linked to above shows the most commonly spoken language (after English/Spanish) by state. The map for Canada allows you to zoom in and look at specific areas within Canada. For instance, instead of grouping all of Ontario into one bucket, you can see some differences, depending upon which part of Ontario you’re viewing. For instance, in the Census Division (er, Census Division in Canada is kind of like “County” in the US) or York and Toronto, the most commonly spoken language after English/French is Chinese. However, in Peel, it’s Punjabi. Having lived in all three of those areas, those would have been my guesses.

However, I’ve also lived in Victoria and I’m not sure what I would have guessed. The answer is Chinese and I suppose that’s somewhat intuitive given that many immigrants from China choose BC (Vancouver or Victoria) as their place to call home). Similarly, right now, I live in Ottawa and I wouldn’t have guessed Chinese, nor would I have guessed Arabic for Gatineau (which is part of the National Capital Region).

One thing that should be immediately striking about the map is how much “Aboriginal” there is. It appears to be the account for the most land size. It’s probably not fair to group all the Aboriginal languages into one, so here’s a note on the methodology from the creators of the map:

We thought about this a lot when creating the map, and the primary reason is that there are simply not enough colours in the visual spectrum to use a distinct colour (and texture) for each language so that the map is actually visually pleasing and comprehensible. The editorial decision was made to combine the Aboriginal languages into a single colour (while retaining the distinctions and language-specific details when hovering). Why do we think this was a good decision? Almost all of the feedback we’ve received has been “Wow, I’m so happy there’s so much purple, it’s so great how much of Canada is dominated by indigenous languages!”. The purple wave is so striking, so visually stunning, and it clearly communicates the strength of the Aboriginal population across much of Canada — this effect would have been lost if we had selected different colours, and it would look just like everyone else. So we believe we struck a good balance.

One other part of the country that stands out is the Northwest Territories (near the top of the map). You probably could have given me a dozen guesses and I wouldn’t have said “Arabic” as the most commonly spoken language after English/French.

 

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Does the Culture of Hockey Encourage Over-Aggression?

Last night, I happened to catch a short video clip from CBC that was rather appalling. I’m unable to embed the video, so you can watch it at the link above. The gist of the video (and article) is to tell the watcher/reader what happened in a Minor hockey game in Ontario, Canada.

One player was skating down the ice and stopped in front of the opposing team’s goalie. Upon doing this, he “sprayed” the opposing goalie. If you’re not familiar with skating (on ice), when you come to a stop, sometimes, the ‘snow’ that has accumulated on the ice will be kicked up. After the player did this, one of the opposing player’s took exception and proceeded to start roughing up the original player. The original player did not fight back and, as you’ll see from the video, took a pretty harsh beating.

The story explains that the parents took the video to the league and the police are investigating the matter as to whether there should be charges pressed.

Now, I’d like to talk a little bit about the culture of hockey and maybe broaden that to sports in general. As I was born and raised in Canada, I’m familiar with the hockey culture. Though, I never played in any organized hockey, so I won’t ever be able to fully understand the experience. Nonetheless, I still think that, as a former athlete, my opinion should carry some weight.

This player’s actions are unacceptable. The original player simply sprayed the goalie and as punishment, he was given a broken nose and a concussion. Does anyone not think that the opposing player went a little too far when he was pummeling the original player? This scenario reminds me of an episode of The West Wing. In fact, it was the 3rd episode in the series: “A Proportional Response.”

In that episode, Syrian operatives blow up a plane that’s carrying Americans (and the President’s personal physician). The President’s military advisors come up with a plan that they call, “a proportional response.” The President doesn’t like it because he doesn’t think it’s going far enough. He wants to do more damage to the country that’s responsible for those American deaths and demands to see a plan that will take out the airport in Syria’s capital city, Damascus. There’s more to the story (isn’t there always with an Aaron Sorkin script?), but at one point, the Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says to the President’s Chief of Staff, ” he will have doled out five thousand dollars worth of punishment for a fifty buck crime.”

Among other things, this is what it appears to me that happened in this minor league hockey game where one player committed a five dollar crime and ended up with a five thousand dollar punishment. Of course, I’m not saying that the player shouldn’t have stuck up for his goalie, but maybe he went a little overboard? And it’s certainly not the first time a player has gone overboard in sticking up for his teammate. It’s been almost 10 years since the infamous Bertuzzi-Moore incident.

I have to think that the “punisher” had he knew what was happening, wouldn’t have wanted to give the original player a broken nose and a concussion. I have to think that, because this happened, somewhere as part of the culture, this is okay. Not necessarily that it’s okay to inflict such physical damage to a player, but the culture of over-aggression is normal and maybe even lauded. Again, as I said, I never played organized hockey, so I can’t be certain of hockey culture in the dressing room or on the ice. As a spectator, I know that this isn’t something I want to see. I understand the logic and reasoning behind having enforcers on a hockey team, but I wonder what the NHL would look like without enforcers.

Every Child is Gifted: Why Nurturing is so Important

I came across an op-ed in the NYT from September arguing that, in America, there is too much focus on raising the floor (of education) and not enough focus on raising the ceiling. Meaning, there’s more focus on bringing up the “weaker” kids and not much focus on the “stronger” kids. I was fortunate enough to be born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area, so during my formative years, I was in school in Ontario (Canadian education, from what I remember, is known for being better than American education).

The op-ed goes on to describe how it is for those young students who are really smart, but because they go to public school, are prevented from getting the kind of education that will challenge/inspire them. Again, I didn’t do my K-12 education the US, so all I’ve got to go on is what I’ve heard/read. I do remember seeing Waiting for Superman and that painted a rather dire picture for some States).

The op-ed’s main thesis is that there needs to be a focus on these high-potential kids. Because their parents didn’t have the funds to afford private education doesn’t mean they should be prevented from getting a solid education.

I think that’s an argument that most people would agree with — to some extent. I’d like to make a different point, though.

It might seem a bit clichéd to say that, “every child is gifted,” but this is something that I truly believe. How? We are all gifted in a different way. Some folks may be more talented in kinesthetic activities and some may be more talented in musical activities. I certainly think that we all have the capacity to develop these talents, but I also think that some folks are born with a predisposition to certain talents. (I don’t know that I agree with it fully, but Gardner’s multiple intelligences is a good starter for what I’m talking about.)

So, if we’ve got all of these predispositions to talents, how come they don’t necessarily show up? Well, I would argue that it’s nurturing. Parenting is a monumental responsibility. Caring for and nurturing a little being is one of the noblest things one can do. I won’t go too deep into parenting philosophy in this post, but suffice to say, I think a great deal of responsibility falls on the parents to nurture those talents within their kids (major caveat: like there are predispositions to talents, I don’t doubt that there are also predispositions to “non”-talents that might make nurturing a bit more difficult). I’m not here to criticize how some people parent, but I do want to emphasize that all children are talented. It may just take a little extra effort to ferret out those talents, if the child had not been nurtured in a way that allows the child to be comfortable/confident in those talents.