Ten years ago, Rose Lacsamana and her family opened a store targeted at the Filipino market in Saskatoon.
That proved to be a good business decision, given the city’s growing Filipino population. The Confederation Park neighbourhood, where the store is located, includes the city’s largest concentration of Filipinos.
“It feels like home,” Lacsamana said in an interview Wednesday. “We see lots of Filipinos.”
Lacsamana hears lots of Filipinos, too, specifically speaking Tagalog.
Census information from 2016 included in the City of Saskatoon’s 2017 neighbourhood profiles shows Tagalog now ranks behind English as the second most common mother tongue in Bridge City.
In the 2011 census, Tagalog ranked behind German as the third most common mother tongue.
The change in first languages shows a transforming Saskatoon, with European languages replaced by Asian ones.
The most recent census numbers show most people’s first language is English with 188,120 claiming it. That’s followed by Tagalog (6,745), Mandarin Chinese (4,075), Urdu (3,340) and French (3,245).
In 2011, English was still the top mother tongue with 178,470 people, but it was followed by German (3,795), Tagalog (3,765), Ukrainian (3,530) and French (3,235).
Lacsamana said there are now three Filipino stores in Saskatoon. When her family opened the Global Pinoy Food Store, it was the first, she said.
Even though her children are learning English as their first language at school, Lacsamana and other Filipinos feel it is important to keep the language of their homeland alive.
“Our kids, we try to teach them Filipino so they know the language,” she explained. “So at home we pretty much speak in Filipino.”
Tagalog also led in the census as the language other than English most often spoken at home with 3,805, followed by Mandarin with 3,220 and Urdu with 2,165. Only 915 people cited French.
Recent census data shows immigration numbers also reflect the changing face of Saskatoon.
Of the 42,640 Saskatoon residents who identified themselves as immigrants in the 2016 census, nearly one quarter, 9,110, hailed from the Philippines. This was followed by China (3,780), Pakistan (3,720) and India (3,365).
The highest number of immigrants from a non-Asian country came from the United Kingdom with 2,040.
In all, 27,995 immigrants came from Asian countries, compared to 7,460 from Europe, 3,665 from Africa and 3,285 from the Americas.