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Simcoe looking to honour newcomers and those who support them

The number of people who speak Russian and Urdu has doubled, according to recent Census data

Immigrants who choose to make Simcoe County their home are doing their part to make it better – and Simcoe County is looking to honour them and those who support them in the Fifth Annual Newcomer Recognition Awards.

“Nominations are open and they close on Sept. 22,” said Sandra Lee, the county’s Local Immigration Partnership project coordinator.

“(The awards) really have a two-fold purpose: all the awards categories dovetail with our settlement strategy. Part of the purpose is to recognize immigrants and the achievements they’ve made and the other part is to recognize businesses and individuals who support immigrants.”

There are awards for employers, for educators (teachers, administrators or even schools), as well as for an immigrant artist, entrepreneur, mentor and youth.

“We’re looking at their contributions to our community, our economy and our culture,” said Lee, who noted recently released 2016 census data show more people whose mother tongue is neither English nor French are choosing to make their new lives in Simcoe County communities.

“In 2011, Spanish was the fastest-growing language and it continued to stand out in 2016,” she said, adding it’s the fifth largest non-official language mother tongue, as people come not only from Mexico, but El Salvador, other South American countries and the Philippines.

Russian has more than doubled in the last five years and Urdu, a south Asian language, has doubled.

Arabic also saw a large increase in last spring’s numbers.

More specific data on immigration is due to be released in October, Lee added.

Details and nomination forms can be found online 

The awards will be presented at a gala Oct. 26 at the Tangle Creek Golf and Country Club.

Those who nominate will be entered into a draw for a comedy night at Tangle Creek.

Laurie Watt

About the Author: Laurie Watt

A journalist with 35 years experience in newspapers, Laurie is also an active volunteer in Barrie.
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