Family Ties: Starting a New Life in Toronto
Image 3.1 Danforth Avenue looking east to Luttrell. Courtesy of City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 100, Item 278
A Family’s Pull to Toronto
Peter’s grandmother encouraged his family to move from Xanthi to Canada for five years so they could earn enough money to return to Greece and live a more comfortable life. Extended family living in the Danforth area helped Peter’s family to settle in the neighbourhood by providing them with a rental home and a construction job for Peter’s father.
Although Peter’s family originally planned on staying for five years, the family support and network encouraged them to settle more permanently in Toronto.
Kinship Support Systems: Easing the Settlement Process
With relatives already settled in Toronto, this support network helped the Paparizos to develop a greater sense of belonging in Toronto. Many moved to Canada from Greece due to economic hardship and were sponsored by family members, who had themselves arrived through sponsorship, a system of movement called chain migration.
The Paparizos’ chose to move to Canada in part because of the influence of established Greek networks already living in Toronto. Not knowing the English language, they relied upon family connections to become acclimatized to their new home. The cultural and familial ties of language, community events, family and friendship helped to link Peter and his family to a community that was familiar and to which they belonged, while they settled into their new lives in Toronto.
Family and cultural connections also play an important role in the lives of the Greek Diaspora. The presence of this social community helped to establish close ties, shared opinions, and the ability to anchor their sense of belonging. Like the Paparizos’ family who found success in their new community, other Greek migrants to Toronto benefited from this sense of diaspora.
How do family and social support networks influence where people decide to move and settle?
What is the role of the Diaspora in shaping community?
A system of movement whereby a push factor, often a negative influence such as economic hardship or war, and a pull factor, often a positive incentive such as family, prompt the migration of a community to roughly the same area where they may have existing or the opportunity to develop networks and support.