The original home country for all Eritreans is located in the northeast corner of Africa. Eritrea gained its independence from Ethiopia after a bitter war that lasted 30 years. The war ended in 1991, and marked the birth of a new nation. Because of the war, thousands of Eritreans were forced to leave their country and live in Sudan, Europe, the Middle East and North America. The migration of Eritreans to Toronto gained momentum in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Today, over 10,000 Eritreans make the GTA their home.
Eritreans make up a diverse population, reflecting many languages, cultures and religions. There are nine Eritrean nationalities: Afar, Bilen, Hedareb, Kunama, Nara, Rashaida, Saho, Tigre and Tigrigna. While many Eritreans speak Arabic, the Rashaida speak Arabic exclusively. The most widely used languages in the community of the Greater Toronto Area, including Mississauga are Tigrigna, Tigre and Arabic.
MEKALH is a newsletter published by the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre (see below).
MERHABA is a newsletter published by the Eritrean Canadian Society for Youth Advancement (see below). Both newsletters feature news, views, articles, etc. that cater to the needs of the community.
THE ERITREAN CANADIAN COMMUNITY CENTRE (ECCC), (Tel. 416-658-8580, Fax 416-658-7442, 729 St. Clair Ave. W). Established in 1985, the ECCC provides services to the Eritrean community of Toronto, including children, youth and women. These services include adaptation and settlement, heritage language training, informal counselling, information and referral, translation and interpretation, advocacy, recreation, employment and career options, and stay-in-school program for youth.
ERITREAN CULTURAL AND CIVIC CENTRE, (Tel. 416-516-1246, 120 Carlton St).
ERITREAN CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO, (Tel. 416-536-3229, www.ecao.ca, 296 Concord Ave). President: Astier Negash.
Source: Amanuel Melles.
Eritrean cultural display at the Eritrean Canadian Community Centre.