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Vancouver's Iranian community

By Fram Dinshaw If you’ve ever travelled to Tehran, Iran’s capital, you will notice the snow-capped Alborz mountains just north…

By Fram Dinshaw , in Immigration , on December 5, 2007

By Fram Dinshaw

North Tehran's Tajrish neighbourhood, reminiscent of North VancouverIf you’ve ever travelled to Tehran, Iran’s capital, you will notice the snow-capped Alborz mountains just north of the city, with its tidy villas, tree-lined streets, and large, well kept parks. This is why many Iranians have chosen Vancouver to start a new life, as the Coast Mountains dwarfing Vancouver’s high-rises and spacious avenues remind them of the land of their birth.

The Discover Vancouver website says that Iranians have made their home in Vancouver since the 1950s, but mass immigration only started after 1979, when the Shah (king) of Iran was toppled and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s regime swept to power during the Islamic Revolution.

After that came the eight year Iran – Iraq War. The resulting hardship saw many Iranians emigrate.

Since 2002, the Iranian population in Vancouver has tripled. Iranians come to seek a new life in what community leader Behshad Hastibakhsh describes as a “Promised Land.”

Bowen Island and the coast mountains on a rainy day, like Northern Iran's Caspian region, again reminding Iranians of home.

Today, North Vancouver has many Persian restaurants and Farsi shop signs, with Iranian institutions like the recently-opened Deh Khoda School (named after a Persian philosopher) allowing children to study Farsi and Persian history.

The Iranian community is well established. It has its own media, with the Farsi language Shahrvand e Vancouver (Citizens of Vancouver) being the main newspaper.

Not all Iranians living in Vancouver are Muslim. Many with secular values came here to escape religious fundamentalism in Iran. Other Iranians follow the Zoroastrian, Christian, Baha’i, or Jewish faiths. No matter what faith they have, all Iranians have cultural festivals in common, such as Norouz – the Persian New Year that falls on March 21 – and Yalda, the winter solstice festival celebrated on December 21.


  • Dear Iranian friends:

    Salaam to you all,

    I hope all is well with you. I am an associate professor planning to come to University of Victoria during my sabbatical period for one year starting Feb 2008. I have an 8 year old daughter who is now in 2nd grade. Do you know if there is a Persian school she could go to continue her farsi education while in Canada. I really appreciate it if you could give me the contact information of any farsi speaking schools near vancouver or victoria. Many thanks for your help,

    Bagher Ghobary
    University of Tehran
    School of Psychology & Education

  • salam .
    My husband has got a job offer in victoria and we want to move there in three months I have no idea about life in victoria . actually we live in vancouver but I really need some information .I have a six year old daughter I ‘d like to know about good schools and good neighborhood to live .

  • Salam,
    I’m an Irish national, living in London, in my final year of a BA Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. I graduate in June 2009 and am interested in coming to Vancouver to settle. I was wondering if anyone could suggest areas of work where I might be able to use my knowledge of the Persian language. I’m primarily interested in graduate programmes but would also be interested in teaching or the general area of education,
    many thanks,

  • salam,
    I am an Iranian student in Malaysia. I finished my masters degree in Applied Linguistics at UPM University. I would like to consider doing my PhD at a university in Vancouver. I need some help discerning which schools in Vancouver offer PhD programs in my field of study. Also qualitative information regarding various universities would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for any assitance provided!

  • Hello,
    My family and I live in Montreal. We want to move to Vancouver and we need some information. How we can communicate with Iranian community? Is there someone to guide us?
    Thank you

  • Hello,

    I have got a job offer in Victoria and and My job will be in downtown (view street). I could have found some appartment around this area, but I was wondering whether the downtown is secure and reliable for living or not; Also the friend of mine has got admission from the UVIC and she has to start on May 2010 and she is looking for a safe & secure place close to UVIC, Any idea can be very helpful.
    Thank you in advance for your time & your information.

  • Dear Friends Hi
    I am Ameneh from ran, me and my husband are coming to live canada in 6 next months. We are confused to choose Torento, Montreal and Vankovour. Is vankovour much more expensive than Montral and Torento? Can you please say how much is the cost of a middle class life in these three provinces? Which of them is more nice for Iranian? Is there any good university in vankovour?

  • hi
    I found this page by chance. I’m living in Iran and i want to give a residence permit in canada by the way my husband is not greedy like me. because he has a good job in Iran and he says that I dont know that what do i do in canada. but i want to get residance permit even I wont living in canada. plz give me some information about the government and about vancouver and montreal(everything about the weather people university and job). and tell me that is very hard to find a job in canada? and how much is the cost of a middle and higher social classes life in vncouver and motnreal.
    thanks alot.

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