Intergroup Relations

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Spaniards/

Spaniards have created a number of organizations based on both national and regional identities; many have also belonged to more broadly based organizations aimed at all Spanish-speaking people. On occasions, however, their relations with other Hispanics have not been smooth. Some Spaniards have seen themselves as the true representatives of the Spanish-speaking population and Latin Americans have resented such assumptions of superiority. In both Toronto and Vancouver, Hispanic organizations split when recently arrived Latin Americans felt that Spanish leaders were not giving them the attention or standing they deserved.

The connections between Spaniards and other Hispanics have been strongest when based on political positions such as anti-imperialism and anti-Americanism rather than some sentimental connection based on a shared language. These relations have been more easily established by Spaniards who have lived also in Latin America.

In spite of the tensions, Spanish Canadians have been able to cooperate with other Spanish-speaking people and with the Portuguese. Together they celebrate important religious festivals. In recent years, both Toronto and Montreal have had Hispanic cultural festivals in which both Latin Americans and Spaniards have participated. Montreal’s Festival d’Espagne et d’Amerique Latine began in 1992; Toronto’s Semana de la Lengua Española in 1991. In recent years there has also been a Hispanic festival at Harbourfront in Toronto. In 1992 members of Toronto’s Spanish community formed part of the International Committee for the 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of America.