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Does Toronto's multiculturalism really contrast with the "melting pot" of American cities?

urbandreamer

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I know quite a number of German families changed their surnames to sound more Anglo, especially after WW1 began. Just check out the cemeteries in Waterloo Region, or Jewish cemeteries in Toronto. Also some French-Canadian families changed their names to look more Anglo, especially if they moved West of Quebec.

Re: Canadian. I find the less people identify as hyphenated-Canadian, the more reluctant they are to pronounce themselves Canadian. Ask some random small town people if they're Canadian and they will just laugh.:p (It's like the saying goes: real Canadians don't wave the maple leaf flag.)
 

howl

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I know quite a number of German families changed their surnames to sound more Anglo, especially after WW1 began. Just check out the cemeteries in Waterloo Region, or Jewish cemeteries in Toronto. Also some French-Canadian families changed their names to look more Anglo, especially if they moved West of Quebec.

Re: Canadian. I find the less people identify as hyphenated-Canadian, the more reluctant they are to pronounce themselves Canadian. Ask some random small town people if they're Canadian and they will just laugh.:p (It's like the saying goes: real Canadians don't wave the maple leaf flag.)
Kitchener used to be called Berlin until 1916.

Then there is the story of the former coach of the Argo's, Bob O'Billovich. The story I heard was his background was Russian but the immigration officer was Irish.
 

Johnny Au

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Kitchener used to be called Berlin until 1916.

Then there is the story of the former coach of the Argo's, Bob O'Billovich. The story I heard was his background was Russian but the immigration officer was Irish.
It is funny, since O'Billovich has two different patronymic affixes in his surname: O' and -ovich, the former being an Irish patronymic surname prefix meaning "grandson of" or "descendent of" and the latter being a Russian patronymic surname suffix meaning "son of." It means that Bob O'Billovich could mean Bob, grandson of son of Bill or even Robert, grandson of son of William, given that Bob is a nickname of Rob, which in turn is short for Robert, and Bill is a nickname of Will, which in turn is short for William.
 

WislaHD

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One thing that hasn't been touched upon is multi-ethnic kids like me. :)

The hyphenated-Canadian nomenclature makes little sense for someone like me who has a multi-ethnic background and is ethnically ambiguous. I was born and raised in Canada with Canadian values, so I simply refer myself as Canadian.
 

the lemur

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Re: Canadian. I find the less people identify as hyphenated-Canadian, the more reluctant they are to pronounce themselves Canadian. Ask some random small town people if they're Canadian and they will just laugh.:p (It's like the saying goes: real Canadians don't wave the maple leaf flag.)
I get that we're not as jingoistic as some, but really, how would these random small-town people identify themselves then?
 

the lemur

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Kitchener used to be called Berlin until 1916.
Toronto used to have streets named Hamburg (now Gladstone), Bismarck (Asquith), Humboldt (Lynwood) and Schiller (Clarendon). Also a street named for Liszt (Balmoral) who, although not German, was a German speaker and associated with Austria-Hungary as well as Germany. The names appear to have been changed around or even before WW1.
 

the lemur

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It is funny, since O'Billovich has two different patronymic affixes in his surname: O' and -ovich, the former being an Irish patronymic surname prefix meaning "grandson of" or "descendent of" and the latter being a Russian patronymic surname suffix meaning "son of." It means that Bob O'Billovich could mean Bob, grandson of son of Bill or even Robert, grandson of son of William, given that Bob is a nickname of Rob, which in turn is short for Robert, and Bill is a nickname of Will, which in turn is short for William.
Obilović (Обиловић) is a Serbian name, although I can't find what it's a patronymic of. It may be connected to Obilić, as in Miloš Obilić, a medieval knight and national hero, whose name is also recorded as Obilijevic.

It's possible the immigration officer reflexively started writing O' upon hearing O'Billovich's ancestor begin writing his name ...

Sometimes it's the new arrivals themselves who get creative with spelling in order to stand out less. There's a real estate agent in the GTA whose last name is McDadi and someone else whose name is something like McKhail. Pretty sure they're not Scots though.
 

the lemur

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Yes, along with "Zhuge" (as in Zhuge Liang, the master tactician made famous in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms).
Here's a really unusual development in terms of overseas Chinese family names. In the mid-19th century, the Dutch brought indentured Chinese labourers (mostly Hakka) from Hong Kong, southern China and Indonesia to its South American colony, Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) to work on sugar plantations, anticipating a labour shortage if slavery were to be abolished.

These Hakka had a custom of not revealing their full given names to authorities or to strangers. Instead, they would give a name beginning with 'A' and then a part of their given name, either as a separate name or appended to the A-.

Their descendents born to Chinese fathers and non-Chinese mothers would then often use the father's full name as a surname, which means that many Surinamese nowadays have surnames that are actually the full name of their great-grandfather or great-great-grandfather. On top of that, those names were recorded phonetically, according to the rules of Dutch spelling, so a name that we might know as Liu became Lieuw, Feng/Fung > Foeng, Zhang > Tjon or Tjong, Xiao > Sjauw, etc., resulting in names like 'Erik Tjon A Loi' or 'Sandra Ho Asjoe' (A-壽, A-Shou).
 

wild goose chase

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To be clear, those immigrants in the US made the change themselves after settling in the US, at a time when some names would have faced some incomprehension or difficulty. I think what's more surprising is how many names survived unchanged, aside from a few diacritics going missing.

I haven't heard of anything similar happening in Canada.
I wonder if immigrants who became Canadian were any more or less likely to change their names in the new country than their American counterparts.
Canadian multiculturalism policy only came in around a couple of generations roughly speaking, and the "immigrant experience" probably didn't differ too much between the two countries, I'd imagine.

However there was one thing I noticed about South Asian Canadians and South Asian Americans -- Many people were talking about the "badass" defence minister Harjit Sajjan a while ago, who was a Sikh as well as other members of Trudeau's cabinet. Likewise, there are two well known Indian-American politicians who are or were state governors, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley. The two Americans have western names, (and also converted to Christianity from Hinduism and Sikhism respectively while growing up) while the Canadians it seems retained their traditional names and the faith they grew up with. These politicians would all have been born in the 60s and 70s, when multiculturalism and the civil rights movement was in full swing but I don't know if it says anything about the two countries' accommodating attitudes towards diversity in a societal sense.
 

WislaHD

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I think it speaks to the differences in order to become a part of the political establishment in both countries.

I wonder if the Orange Order's influence was more prevalent today, if we would be seeing similar things.
 

prosperegal

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I wonder if immigrants who became Canadian were any more or less likely to change their names in the new country than their American counterparts.
Canadian multiculturalism policy only came in around a couple of generations roughly speaking, and the "immigrant experience" probably didn't differ too much between the two countries, I'd imagine.

However there was one thing I noticed about South Asian Canadians and South Asian Americans -- Many people were talking about the "badass" defence minister Harjit Sajjan a while ago, who was a Sikh as well as other members of Trudeau's cabinet. Likewise, there are two well known Indian-American politicians who are or were state governors, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley. The two Americans have western names, (and also converted to Christianity from Hinduism and Sikhism respectively while growing up) while the Canadians it seems retained their traditional names and the faith they grew up with. These politicians would all have been born in the 60s and 70s, when multiculturalism and the civil rights movement was in full swing but I don't know if it says anything about the two countries' accommodating attitudes towards diversity in a societal sense.
The defence minister came to Canada as a child. I think Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley are both US-born. Also, Bobby Jindal wasn't "Bobby" at birth. Seems like he took the name when he was older?

Note: Chinese Canadians tend to have western names. In fact, I only know two or three people under 45 who DO NOT.
 
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