In 1975, the first 13 Somali newcomers to the city came together and began a tradition of meeting three times a year. These early pioneers have helped Toronto’s Somali community flourish over the years. Today, Toronto’s 70,000 Somalis have added a new flavour and diversity to the city’s multicultural make-up.
The first wave of settlers were refugees who arrived following the Ethiopian–Somali war in 1988. More than 3,000 Somali political refugees arrived in Canada following the civil war in Somalia. Many settled in Parkdale and the Lawrence Avenue West–Caledonia Road area. From 1989 to 1992, over 15,000 Somalis sought refuge in Canada from the drought, war, and hardships that overcame their homeland in Northeast Africa. A majority settled in Toronto. The largest group of Somalis immigrated to Toronto in the 1990s.
Today, Somali neighborhoods are found in Northern Etobicoke, Don Mills, Scarborough, Weston, the Dundas Street West–Bloor Street area, and the Annex. Many Somali professionals have settled in the city, including engineers, teachers, doctors, and business people. Somalis are known for their love of soccer and have been instrumental in the organization of several soccer tournaments in the city.
Somalis celebrate the following as well as all Muslim holidays.
NATIONAL HOLIDAY is June 26.
INDEPENDENCE DAY is July 1.
DHAMBAAL SOMALI NEWSPAPER, (Tel. 416-743-3335, 1987 Kipling Ave). Editor: Liban Bashir.
MUUQAALKA SOOMAALIDA (EYE ON SOMALIA), OMNI TV, (Tel. 416-260-3621, 545 Lakeshore Blvd. W). Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
SOMALI PRESS(Tel. 416-242-7777, 1776 Weston Rd). Editor: Ahmed Barkhadle.
DEJINTA BEESHA, (Tel. 416-743-1286, 8 Taber Rd).
SOMALI CANADIAN COMMUNITY CLUB, (Tel. 416-249-6742, 1680 Jane St).
MIDAYNTA, (Tel. 416-544-1992, Fax 416-440-3379, www.midaynta.com, 1992 Yonge St., Suite 203). The Midaynta Youth sports club was established in October 15, 1997. Midaynta sponsors and runs sports programs such as basketball, soccer, hockey, table tennis, football. The programs are run throughout the year, indoors during winter and outdoors in summer. Dozens of youth sports club participate in the programs which are designed to promote healthy lifestyles, mental and physical fitness, and safe neighbourhoods.
SOMALI CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF ETOBICOKE, (Tel. 416-742-4601, 925 Albion Rd., Room 202). Executive Director: Osman Ali.
SOMALI YOUTH ASSOCIATION OF TORONTO (SOYAT), (Tel. 416-247-6333, www.soyat.org, 2304 Islington Ave., Suite 101).
SIWA-SOMALI IMMIGRANT WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION, (Tel. 416-741-7492, 1735 Kipling Ave).
YORK COMMUNITY SERVICES, (Tel. 416-653-5400. ext. 226), Abukar Mohamed.
SOMALILAND WOMEN’S ORGANIZATION OF METRO TORONTO, (Tel. 416-293-6585, 67 Commander Blvd).