Culture and Group Maintenance

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Ecuadoreans/Lynne Phillips

Ecuadoreans celebrate their own cultural traditions in public. A festival is held each year in Toronto. Also commemorated, with speeches and a cultural program on 24 May, is the Batalla de Pichincha, which marked Ecuador’s liberation from Spain. The anniversary of the Spanish founding of Quito as the administrative centre of Ecuador is remembered in a similar way on 6 December. Perhaps not surprisingly, being Ecuadorean in Canada has its own contradictions. Many members of the community feel an ever-present ambivalence about not wanting to lose their Ecuadorean identity and yet believing that they must reject it in order to survive in Canada.

Ecuadoreans have sometimes experienced discrimination from other Latin Americans in this country. Tensions have existed between immigrants from those countries that emphasize their European background, such as Chile and Argentina, and newcomers from Ecuador and Colombia, who have been stereotyped as poor, illiterate, backward Indians. On the other hand, efforts have been made by some to encourage an inclusive Latin American community in Toronto. The Encuentro de Organizaciones Latinoamericanas was formed to coordinate all the various associations in the city, including the Ecuadorean and Colombian ones. Today the Chileans and the Ecuadoreans – the two largest Hispanic groups in Toronto – are the main contributors to the annual International Hispanic Fiesta at the Canadian National Exhibition.