A Filipino's guide to Canada

The Filipino community in Canada

Filipinos (or Pinoys) have been calling Canada home for decades now. But what makes the Great White North such an attractive place to live? Discover where to find Filipino communities, your options for emigrating from the Philippines and how to adjust to life in Canada. 

Entering Canada from the Philippines

Canada is the most welcoming country in the world, according to a 2020 survey by polling giants Gallup. This goes a long way to explaining why Canada is one of the world’s most diverse countries. From its cuisine to music, fashion to art, Canada is a melting pot of many cultures. 

Every year, Canada welcomes tens of thousands of new residents from countries like India, Nigeria, China and the Philippines. Consequently, new expat communities are surfacing in provinces around the country. 

Filipinos arriving in Canada to visit, work or study must have a visa to enter. Whether you’re a caregiver with a work permit, a student with a study permit, or simply visiting family, you must show a valid visa upon arrival.

There are over 100 immigration programs, incentives and visa schemes to choose from. Some of the most popular schemes include:

  • Express Entry.
  • Family Class Sponsorship.
  • LMIA Work Visa.

Knowing which program is for you and the requirements will save you time, energy and money. If you know which province you want to move to, even better. Some Canadian immigration programs like the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) are specific to certain provinces. 

Regardless of your route, it’s a great time to apply for a residence in Canada. In 2021, the government plans to invite 401,000 skilled immigrants from all over the world to become permanent residents. This already ambitious target will increase by 10,000 in 2022 and again in 2023. 

The Filipino community in Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba’s largest city, is home to the third-largest Filipino diaspora in Canada – around 80,000 residents. In terms of Filipino heritage, there’s no comparison. More than 1,200 Filipinos emigrated to Winnipeg through a popular recruitment program in 1960 and many remain to this day. 

Today, Winnipeg has one of the fastest-growing economies in Canada. Its accommodation prices are also among the country’s lowest. It’s little surprise then that a new wave of Filipinos and Canadian-Filipinos are returning. 

If you’re looking for some Filipino ‘home cooking’ in Winnipeg, you’re never far away from an authentic chorizo de Cebu or kutchinta (steam rice cake). Below are some of the best Filipino restaurants, stores and events the city has to offer.

Restaurant in WinnipegAddress
Kalan1449 Arlington St, MB, R2X 1T5
Jenmuel’s Lechon Cebu and Grill63 Euclid Avenue, MB, R2W 2W4
Myrna’s Cafe & Catering833 Sargent Avenue, MB, R3E 0C1
Pampanga349 Henry Avenue, MB, R3A 0S9
Noemi’s700 McGregor St, MB R2V 3T8
Stores/supermarkets in WinnipegAddress
Seafood City2311 McPhillips St Unit 307, MB R2V 3C9
Tindahan Food Mart906 Sargent Avenue, MB R3E 0C8
Young’s Market1000 McPhillips St, Winnipeg, MB R2X 2K4
Manitoba Filipino Street FestivalJune434 Adsum Street, MB
Filipino Food Trip Fest & FairAugust2255 King Edward Street
Kultivation Festival F.A.M.D. (Food, Art, Music, and Dance)March2305 McPhillips St, MB R2V 3E1

The Filipino community in Ontario

Ontario doesn’t have Manitoba’s rich Filipino history, but it does boast the largest Filipino population in Canada. According to a 2016 census, there were 250,000 Filipinos in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. 

It’s common to hear Tagalog spoken in Little Manila and beyond. You’ll also hear Ilocano and Cebuano if you spend enough time in the area. 

Below are some of the best Filipino restaurants, stores and events in Toronto. 

Filipino restaurants in TorontoAddress
Sampaguita Village322 Wilson Avenue, North York, ON M3H 1S8.
Lamesa634 St Clair Avenue West, ON M6C 1A9.
Wilson’s Haus of Lechon365 Wilson Avenue, North York, ON M3H 1T3.
Republika 288-A Wilson Avenue, North York, ON M3H 1S8.
Foodtrip3790 Bathurst St, North York, ON M3H 3M9.
Filipino stores in TorontoAddress
Philippine Oriental Food Market  1033 Gerrard St East, ON, M4M 1Z6
Filipino N Toronto 1859 Eglinton Ave W, York, ON, M6E 2J3
Bernard’s Filipino Specialties 1534 Queen St West, ON, M6R 1A6
Filipino events in TorontoWhenWhere
Pinoy Fiesta and Trade ShowJuneToronto Convention Centre255 Front St. W, ON, M5V 2W6
Taste of Manila AugustBathurst St, North York, ON M3H 3M6
Mabuhay Philippines Festival AugustNathan Phillips Square 100 Queen St W, ON M5H 2N1

Did you know? You can set up a bank account in Canada from overseas. Kick-start your move to the Great White North by reading our guide to opening a bank account in Canada.

The Filipino community in British Columbia

Despite the year-round downpours, ‘Raincouver’ has attracted 100,000 residents of Filipino ethnic origin.

The city’s growing Filipino population means that you’ll probably feel more at home here. No more so than in the Fraser Street neighbourhood, where many street signs are written in Tagalog.

If you’re looking to satisfy your cravings for all things Filipino, there are plenty of places around Vancouver, including:

Filipino restaurants in VancouverAddress
Hapag Ihaw-Ihaw5432 Victoria Drive, BC, V5P 3V7.
Kulinarya1134 Commercial Drive, BC, V5L 3X2.
Pin Pin6113 Fraser St, BC, V5W 2Z9.
O! Taho4223 Fraser St, BC, V5V 4G2.
Aling Ening 4253 Fraser St, BC V5V 4G1.
Filipino stores/supermarkets in VancouverAddress
Aling Mary’s Filipino Store and Bakery 2656 Main St, BC, V5T 3E7
Sari-Sari-Filipino Convenience Store 5191 Joyce St, BC, V5R 4G8
Tatak Pinoy Filipino Store 5032 Joyce St, BC, V5R 4G6
Filipino events in VancouverWhenWhere
Philippine Days FestivalJuneWaterfront Park 
Pinoy Fiesta AugustMemorial South Park

The Filipino community in Alberta 

Of the 89,000 Filipinos in the province, almost half live in Calgary.

From National Heroes Day to Filipino Independence Day, events to celebrate Filipino culture and history are popping up all the time. There’s also an array of shops and restaurants catering to the city’s Filipino community. 

Filipino restaurants in CalgaryAddress
Tambaya5147 20 Ave Southeast, AB, T2B 0B1.
Chopstix9679 Macleod Trail Southwest, AB, T2J 0P7.
Adobo Experience3745 Memorial Drive  E #7, AB T2A 6V4.
Lola’s255 28 St Southeast, AB, T2A 5K4.
Barrio Fiesta6800 Memorial Drive E #170, AB T2A 6V3
Filipino stores/supermarkets in CalgaryAddress
Manila Convenience StoreWillow Park Center, 10325 Bonaventure Dr Southeast suite 120, AB, T2J 7E4
Franchesa Foods 6130 1a St Southwest, AB, T2H 0B1
Lutong Bahay (Asian Mini Mart)55 Castleridge Blvd NE Unit 36, AB, T3J 3J8
Filipino events in CalgaryWhenWhere
Fiesta FilipinoSeptemberVarious locations
One Kapamilya GoAugustStampede Corral Arena

Need a way to send money from Canada to the Philippines? Read our guide to transferring funds from Canada to locations in Manila, Quezon City and beyond.

Where to meet fellow Filipinos in Canada 

If you’re looking to connect with other Filipinos, organisations like the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba (Winnipeg) and the Filipino Centre (Toronto) are perfect starting points. Become a member and you’ll receive information about upcoming events like tax clinics and employment workshops. 

Searching for buzzwords like “Filipinos in Edmonton” or “Pinoy life Winnipeg” on social media is an excellent way of finding like-minded people.

On Facebook alone, there are Filipinos in Canada, Canada Filipino Community and Pinoy in Canada groups.

Another great way of making new friends is through your faith. As a majority Roman Catholic nation, Canada is very accommodating to most religious Filipinos, who follow the same denomination. This means plenty of choice when it comes to finding a church in your new city.