Our Story

We strive to build community knowledge, respect and commitment to our historical memory, culture, and values.

early begginings

Since our early existence, ASALCA has organized and implemented educational presentations to raise awareness about the plight of Salvadorans in Canada, United States, El Salvador, and other neighbouring countries, which led us to collaborate with organizations such as CUSO International, La Paz Housing Cooperative, OCASI (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants), Friends House (Quaker Committee for Refugees), Stratford Festival/Suchitoto ESARTES project, CASA MAIZ, the Religious Congregation of the Loreto Sisters, SalvAid, LIUNA 183 Union, Short-Term International Medical Assistance (STIMA), and more recently, with Western University in London, Ontario.
To empower the political and economic wellbeing of Salvadorans in Toronto’s diverse community, ASALCA has partnered with organizations, institutions, and community groups to provide access to skills building and knowledge in diverse topics, including but not inclusive of the following: immigration, employment readiness, civic engagement, climate change and community action, community engagement and volunteerism. Some of these organizations are the Hispanic Development Centre (HDC), the Hispanic Canadian Heritage Council (HCHC), New Experiences for Refugee Women, Quaker Committee for Refugees-Immigration Services, FutureWatch Education and Development Centre, North York Community House (NYCH), Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), FCJ Refugee Centre, OCASI, and many other local service providers in the areas of settlement, legal, and active citizenship.

Salvadorean diaspora

Since 1980, large waves of Salvadorans have become residents of foreign countries, principally in the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Canada. Most of the 2 millings that fled the armed conflict that lasted from 1980 to 1992, reside in the United States. But Salvadoran immigration began before the war and continues to this day.

According to the Canadian Magazine of Immigration (February 6, 2020), 48,075 Salvadoran immigrants resided in Canada in 2016. The most recent census data (2011) shows that immigrants comprised 20.6% of Canada’s population; in other words, one in five people were immigrants. It also shows that the number of immigrants from El Salvador increased 13.5% from 38,360 in 2021 to 43,655 in 2011. ASALCA is in the process to acquire the most updated statistics from the 2016 Census, which will be analyzed and posted here in early 2023.

The Salvadoran diaspora in Canada is one of the largest from Latin America. El Salvador is represented in Canada by an embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Canada is represented in El Salvador by an embassy in San Salvador.

Many Salvadoran organizations formed in Canada in the 1980s, played various roles in linking the Salvadoran community with the home country. Some had been declined in the 1990s, and some are still active: Salvador del Mundo (Saviour of the World), a multi-ethnic cooperative in Toronto which opened in 1993, the Association of Salvadoran Women (ADEMUSA), named after a group in the homeland was found in Toronto in 1990, and it had branches in Montreal, Vancouver, Hamilton, and Ottawa. Akatun Cultural Movement, Salvadoran refugee women created an umbrella organization in 1993, focusing on familiarizing Canadians with Salvadorans culture including theatre, poetry, and dance, read more here. A coffeehouse called the New Trojan Horse, housed many Salvadorans and other Latinx conversing in Spanish and eating spicy pupusas.

La Paz Housing Cooperative

In 1989, The Globe and Mail Newspaper covered the news story of a new social housing project on St. Clair Avenue West, made possible by a group of Salvadoran refugees led by Daniel Sanchez, who had been one of the founders of COCENTO (Comunidad Centroamericana de Toronto), to focus on pursuing a housing project. Three years after approaching the Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto, fighting two city halls and two levels of government, Daniel Sanchez, president of La Paz Coop finally saw the project becoming a reality. La Paz Co-Operative Homes located on St. Clair Avenue West and West of Keele Street, opened its doors to 62 families. La Paz Co-Operative Homes was part of a federal and provincial cost-sharing program. The estimated cost during construction was 8 million

Our Priority Areas

Empower Salvadoran Canadians to fully participate in Canadian society (culturally, economically, socially)

ASALCA acts as a bridge to newly arrived Salvadorans to connect to and access resources to meet their basis needs (I.e., housing, banking, grocery shopping, health, school, tax systems, training and employment opportunities, childcare subsidy, etc.). In addition to information and referrals, through cultural and educational events, ASALCA provides networking opportunities to meet other Salvadorans and Canadians from diverse communities in Toronto.

Create a cultural presence of Salvadoran Canadians in Toronto

ASALCA organizes cultural activities where Salvadoran Canadian talents are featured. Dance troupes, solo singers, music groups, poetry, and plastic arts are often featured in our events. ASALCA also collaborates with other Latin-American groups in Toronto to organize cultural and community consultation events.

Maintaining the Historic Memory of the Salvadoran Diaspora

The significance of Historic Memory in our diasporic communities has always been a matter of importance. The collaboration with Western University’s “The Surviving Memory in Postwar El Salvador Interdisciplinary Project” is one of many initiatives that will preserve stories for future generations and in the process will strengthen and enrich communication and understanding between the different Salvadoran communities inside and outside El Salvador, concerned with keeping the issue of Historic Memory alive.

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