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2000 Maxwell Studentship Recipient - Geoff Rempel

Photo: Peter Bennett

Vancouver’s little Mexico
Think Vancouver and new Canadians, and you probably picture Asian-Pacific connections. But as University of British Columbia geography graduate student Geoff Rempel is discovering, the city is also home to a small but rapidly growing Mexican population, including these dancers at the Centro Communitario Hispano. With economic and cultural connections between Canada and Mexico on the increase, the winner of the Society’s $5,000 Maxwell Studentship in Human Geography set out to explore this little-known community.

“I was surprised to find how different theMexican immigrant reality is in Canada compared to what it is in the U.S.,” says Rempel, who conducted some 30 interviews for his master’ s thesis. “Racism againstMexicans is much, much stronger in the States than it is here, and by coming to Canada, they believed they could enjoy many of the advantages that come with living in the North without the discrimination they would find in the States.”

Still, among his contacts in the community, Rempel found that for many of the dentists, teachers, engineers and other professionals, securing work and accreditation in their fields hasn’t been easy. “We’re worried about a brain drain, and yet we have all these people who are working as dishwashers and restaurant cooks who are really underemployed.”

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