Asian heritage month banner 2024 Gov't Canada

Asian Heritage Month

Preserving the Past, Embracing the Future: Amplifying Asian Canadian Legacy



This month is a reminder for all Canadians to come together to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms.

Timeline of Asian Communities in Canada

There are just over 200 years of experience, from the arrival of the first Chinese settlers to building the trading post at Nootka Sound.  The timeline below shows a brief glimpse of the breadth of Asian developments, from trading posts to government constitutions.  

The timeline examines the settlement of various Asian groups, the discrimination many of them endured in our early ages, historic accomplishments, firsts, biographies, and the gradual alterations by which Canadian society accepted the right and equality of Asian immigrants.

Source - The Canadian Encyclopedia | Historica Canada

Asian Canadians You Should Know 

It is an opportunity to remember, celebrate, and educate future generations about the inspirational role Asian communities have played and continue to play in communities across the country.

Asian changemakers

In 2016, Asian countries accounted for seven of the top ten countries of birth of recent immigrants: the Philippines, India, China, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and South Korea.

Asia has remained the top source continent for immigrants in recent years. From 2017 to 2019, 63.5% of newcomers to Canada were born in Asia (including the Middle East).


  • Surveys and statistical programs - Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) - database
  • The Daily — Immigration and ethnocultural diversity: Key results from the 2016 Census - read
By the numbers Celebrating Asian Heritage Month
By the numbers Celebrating Asian Heritage Month 2021
Growth of people of racialized population in Alberta 2001-2021

Asian Ethnic Groups

Three of the most reported Asian origins in the whole Canadian population were Chinese (close to 1.8 million), East Indian (approximately 1.4 million) and Filipino (837,130). These three were especially common Asian origins for first and second-generation Canadians. Chinese, Lebanese, and Japanese were the most common Asian origins.

  • Central Asians - Afghani, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgians, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek
  • East Asians - Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Okinawan, Taiwanese, Tibetan
  • Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders - Carolinian, Chamorro, Chuukese, Fijian, Guamanian, Hawaiian, Kosraean, Marshallese, Native Hawaiian, Niuean, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Papua New Guinean, Samoan, Tokelauan, Tongan, Yapese
  • Southeast Asians - Bruneian, Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, Mien, Singaporean, Timorese, Thai, Vietnamese
  • South Asians - Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Indian, Maldivians, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan
  • West Asians - Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey (straddles Europe and Asia), United Arab Emirates and Yemen - Most people from this region do not self-identify as West Asians but rather the Middle East.


Sikh studies program | UCalgary

Sikh Studies Program | UCalgary

UCalgary’s partnership with the Sikh students and faculty in kickstarting the Sikh Studies program at the university results from strong collaborative efforts to promote the traditions in academia. These initiatives are among several opportunities for UCalgary’s community to acknowledge and reflect on the unique challenges Asians face in Canada.

East Asian Language Studies | UCalgary

East Asian Language Studies | UCalgary

East Asian Language Studies scholars ask questions such as: Can the Chinese writing system of Hanzi/Kanji become the universal written language? Now that Japan and China are both superpowers, how are the two countries influencing one another in terms of culture? How do East Asian language learners achieve the desired proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing?

Chinese Language and Culture Programs | UCalgary

Chinese Language and Culture Programs | UCalgary

Mandarin is spoken by over a billion people, or roughly one-fifth of the world population, making it the most widely spoken language. Focus your studies in one of our two majors, complete a minor, or take one of our Chinese culture, film, linguistics, or literature courses.

Filipino Students' Association University of Calgary

Filipino Students' Association | University of Calgary

The University of Calgary Filipino Students’ Association (UCFSA) is a social club sanctioned by the Student’s Union (U of C) in 1992. Our goal is to provide its members and the community with a taste of Filipino culture. Our motto is, “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makarating sa paroroonan,” which means He who does not look back to his roots will not reach his destination.

With this in mind, the UCFSA strives to help its members realize the best aspects of being Filipino-Canadians while engaging various people and reaching out to the community. With many active members and alumni throughout the community, the UCFSA is the perfect way to meet new people and have fun in a welcoming environment while learning more about Filipino culture.


Chinese Students and Scholars Association - SU Clubs

Chinese Students and Scholars Association

In Calgary, Alberta, UCCSSA has closely collaborated with local and international companies. We also collaborate with the University of Calgary’s International Department, community groups, and other student organizations.

Our association is active year-round; however, the majority of activities will take place from September to April, which is the fall and winter academic semesters. Our executives meet weekly to organize events and meet with our student community.

U of C CSSA aims to enhance the overall university experience for students and introduce the modern and traditional Chinese culture to other communities in and around Calgary. We also work towards developing acquaintanceships and fellowships through hosting events and providing prolonged support to our students and the local communities.


Hong Kong Students' Association

Hong Kong Students' Association

The Hong Kong Students’ Association (HKSA) was established in 1993. We are open to all students and community members. The goal of HKSA is to promote cultural diversity and understanding both at the university and in the community. We also aim to provide academic aid, services for students, and volunteer opportunities and raise Hong Kong and Chinese cultural awareness for the students at the University of Calgary. To achieve this, HKSA holds various group functions throughout the year.


Asian Heritage Foundation 2022

Asian Heritage Foundation Background

As the largest pan-Asian organization in Alberta, the Asian Heritage Foundation supports and develops the community through two key objectives:

  1. Fostering awareness of the participation and contributions of Asian Canadians
  2. Raising awareness and addressing issues impacting Asian communities through advocacy, mainstreaming initiatives, policy, and education.

AHF will continue to promote unity and cooperation among Asian communities and between the broader citizenry of Calgary to develop relationships that will lead and drive future initiatives - learn more!

Source - Asian Heritage Foundation

candle lanterns

Asian Communities in Canada


Take a quiz to test your knowledge about the immigration history, traditions and key figures of Asian cultures that are part of Canada.

This quiz is made available by The Canadian Encyclopedia | Historica Canada



Featured Publications

Vivek Shraya is a seven-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, a Pride Toronto Grand Marshal and has been a brand ambassador for MAC Cosmetics and Pantene. She is a director on the board of the Tegan and Sara Foundation, an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary, and is currently adapting her debut play, How to Fail as a Popstar, for television with the support of CBC.

Source -

Pallavi Banerjee is an Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Calgary. She directs the Critical Gender, Intersectionality and Migration Research Group at the University of Calgary, and her research is supported by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Source - NYU Press

Larissa Lai holds a Canada Research Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Calgary, where she directs the Insurgent Architects' House for Creative Writings and is the author of three novels, The Tiger Flu (Lambda Literary Award winner), Salt Fish Girl, and When Fox is a Thousand, and three poetry books, Sybil Unrest (with Rita Wong), Automaton Biographies (shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize), and Iron Goddess of Mercy. She is also the winner of Lambda Literary's Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists Prize and an Astraea Foundation Award. Her latest novel, The Lost Century, will be published in 2022.

Source -

Abdolmohammad Kazemipur is a Professor of Sociology and the Chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of Calgary. In Sacred as Secular, Abdolmohammad Kazemipur attempts to debunk the flawed notions of Muslim exceptionalism by looking at religious trends in Iran since 1979.

Drawing on a wide range of data and sources, including national social attitudes surveys collected since the 1970s, he examines developments in the spheres of politics and governance, schools and seminaries, contemporary philosophy, and the self-expressed beliefs and behaviours of Iranian men, women, and youth.  

Source - McGill-Queen's University Press

Teresa Wong's graphic memoir, Dear Scarlet: The Story of my Postpartum Depression

Teresa Wong is a Canadian Writer-in-Residence Teresa Wong at the University of CalgaryDear Scarlet: The Story of my Postpartum Depression (2019)is her first book and is an unflinchingly honest graphic memoir, a breakout success which became a finalist for the City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize while being longlisted for CBC Canada Reads 2020 and reviewed enthusiastically in the New York Times and the Paris Review.

Source - Arsenal Pulp Press

Asian authors

Books by and on Asian Canadians

A curated book list from various authors, including novels, memoirs and historical accounts. You can find stories that will foster joy, compassion, resilience, and understanding.

Asian films

Films by and on Asian Canadians

This selection highlights many of the accomplishments of Asian Canadians who, throughout Canadian history, have made a rich and diverse nation through film.

Asian podcasts

Podcasts by and on Asian Canadians

Listen to podcasts from hosts and guests with a wide range of experiences about Canada from Asian communities.