Tamil community live around the globe. India and Sri Lanka have been the traditional homeland. Immigration to Canada took place in the early 1960’s. Now, Canada has the largest population outside of these two countries. Most of them settled in and around the City of Toronto, Ontario. However, there are large populations in Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec. The Region of Waterloo and City of Guelph have had a steady growth since early 1980’s. Most of them are professionals, Industrial workers and University students. An infulx of Tamils settled in after 1983 ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. There are about 800 families this region. They are mostly from Sri Lanka and South India.
In 1989, our Tri-City area ( Kitchener – Waterloo – Cambridge ) Tamil community leaders decided to form an organisation called ” Tamil Heritage School ” to promote language and Culture. Later in 2001, Tamil Heritage School was re-named as Tamil Cultural Association of Waterloo Region. The first South Asian Performing Arts festival, Tamil Cultural Nite, was inaugurated at the Humanities Theatre, University of Waterloo in 2000.
In the year 2001, Tamils from neighbouring City of Guelph joined hands with the association. The association was later incorporated as a Non-Profit Organisation under the Ontario Corporation # 1509837.
Over the years, the association has donated goods and services to Nunnavil Children’s Centre, Jaffna., Ind.; Rs 25,000 to fire victims in Trichy, South India.; cash donation to Ramakrishna Mission children’s Library – Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Kitchener, Canadian Red Cross Tsunami fund for Sri Lanka and India, Rotary Club of Cambridge, St. Mary’s Hospital and Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, Cambridge Memorial Hospital, Cambridge, Operation Christmas Child Shoe box program, Flood victims in Chennai India, Covid19 PPE/Mask donation to CMH cambridge, Food for needy during Covid19 to upcountry tea estate community in Sri Lanka, Educational materials to Jaffna YMCA, Walkathon for local hospitals etc.
2004 was a significant year for the association. TCA raised a total of $123,000 on behalf of Canadian Red Cross during Tsunami disaster. Relief materials and cash donations were given to the victims in Sri Lanka and India. In 2015, Funds were distributed to the victims of Chennai flood in south india.
Tamil community from Brantford joined the association in 2011. In the same year, the association re-established the Tamil language school with assistance from Waterloo Regional District School Board in Cambridge.
The association took the leadership to participate at the KW Multicultural festival. It is the region’s largest multicultural festival and an Indian & Sri Lankan food stall was established in 2012 and Waterloo Region’s Diversity Awards was held in 2014 at Sheraton Hotel, Kitchener.
2019 was the 30th Anniversary celebration. Waterloo region’s Diversity award and Anniversary celebration held at Hotel Holiday Inn, Kitchener. Dinner celebration and award cermoney followed the night. 2020 – 2021 was a challenging period for everyone with the arrival of Covid19. Programs slowly started to take place since the beinging of Tamil New Year in 2022.
TCA is a Non-Profit, Non-Denominational, Non-Political community organisation promoting Arts, Culture, Language and Community services in the region. The membership include Tamils from Canada, Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia.