A film by Giovanni Attili and Leonie Sandercock

Migration has always been an important feature of human history, but never more so than the past two decades. But what happens when increasing numbers of strangers move into a neighbourhood, bringing with them different histories and cultures, religions and social practices, and often, urgent needs for housing, language training, schools and jobs? How do newcomers, as well as members of the ‘host’ society, develop an everyday capacity to live alongside those perceived as different, strange?

Our story explores this contemporary global social issue by looking at one neighbourhood – Collingwood – in the City of Vancouver. 38% of metropolitan Vancouver, and 51% of the City’s residents are foreign born. Collingwood, a predominantly Anglo-European community until the 1980s, has been transformed since then by the arrival of large numbers of East, South, and South East Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans. A neighborhood that, just 20 years ago was locking its doors, afraid of change, and telling immigrants to go back where they came from, is now a welcoming place for everyone.

How did this happen? How do strangers become neighbours?