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Toronto the diverse: BBC study declares city most diverse in the world

City gets the nod of most diverse in the world, partly due to its cultural openness

Different cultures are welcome in Toronto, a big part of the reason why the city is the most diverse in the world.

Liz Beddall/ Metro

Different cultures are welcome in Toronto, a big part of the reason why the city is the most diverse in the world.

London’s newly-minted mayor, Sadiq Khan, recently declared his city to be the most diverse city in the world – but it turns out that title belongs to Toronto.

Sorry, mate.

A new study by BBC Radio crunched the numbers and declared Toronto the world’s most multicultural metropolis. According to the study, 51 per cent of Toronto’s population is foreign born, and some 230 different nationalities call the city home.

The results didn’t surprise to Patricia McCarney, director of Global Cities Institute at the University of Toronto. She saw them as proof of Toronto’s welcoming attitude towards newcomers.

 “It’s part of our branding and legacy,” she said, noting Toronto – and Canada at large – has been diversifying its population since the Second World War.

“We haven’t put up those walls that politicians in other countries are talking about these days.”

It’s historically been difficult to declare one city the most diverse, McCarney said. For example, over 80 per cent of Dubai’s population is foreign born, but the total number of countries where those residents hail from is quite low.

Regardless of how you measure it, McCarney said researchers consistently score Toronto at or near the top the diversity list. That’s important, she said, because a diverse population is an engine of economic and demographic growth.

“You look at Toronto, it’s quite a youthful city,” she said, noting only about 14 per cent of Toronto’s population is over the age of 65. In Milan for example, it’s about 25 per cent.

“So diversity really keeps our population young, and it’s a boom to our economy,” she said.

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