A couple of weekends ago, we went camping at Oka. It was my first time there and I found the approach to the beach from the campground interesting. As we arrived at the beach area, there were tall pine trees, picnic tables, and a small three meter wide beach. What struck me was the multi-cultural make-up of the people in this section. Asians, Africans, Arabs, Eastern Europeans, Latinos, and those from the Caribbean. They were in groups, probably extended families, and most were barbequing and having picnics. They were also gathered playing games or conversing. One reason it surprised me is because I had been thinking the other day how although Montreal is known as a diverse city, that diversity is within a small percentage of the population. Yet here was a mini-United Nations a ways away from the center city.
Another thing that was interesting was that the beach proper was primarily composed of people of Western European origin. There were some extended family groups, but for the most part it was individual families (like ours). The people in this area were generally either sunning, splashing, or playing in the sand.
This dichotomy was reinforced the following weekend when we picnicked in Mont Royal Parc. The large groups were primarily immigrants, while the smaller groups were usually natives. It wasn’t as cut and dry this time, but it still fell along those lines.
Immigrant groups getting together in a new land is nothing new. My ancestors did the same. But the difference between where the immigrants and non-immigrants congregate and what activities they enjoy is quite interesting.