May is a time to recognize the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to our country.
Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across the country since the 1990s. It was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. May was also declared South Asian Heritage Month in Ontario in 2001.
The Canadian government’s official declaration acknowledges the presence in Canada for two centuries of people from East Asia, South Asia, West Asia, and Southeast Asia who immigrated here, bringing their rich cultural heritage and various ethnicities, languages and religious traditions.
South Asian immigrants began arriving in Ontario at the start of the 19th century. Working primarily in the sawmill industry, South Asian immigrants settled in various parts of the province.
For South Asians, the month of May has been a time of celebration and commemoration of their arrival from the Indian subcontinent to the Americas beginning on May 5, 1838.