Tamils live all around the world. India and Sri Lanka have been traditional homeland of Tamils. Canada has the largest population outside of these two countries. Most of the Tamils have settled in and around the City of Toronto, Ontario. However, there are also large populations of Tamils in Vancouver, British Columbia and Montreal, Quebec. The Region of Waterloo and City of Guelph have had steady growth since early eighties. Most of them are professionals, Industrial workers and University students. There is about 600 families of Tamils in 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 in this region. Later in 2001, Tamil Heritage School was re-named as Tamil Cultural Association of Waterloo Region and the first South Asian Performing Arts festival, Tamil Cultural Nite, was inaugurated at the Humanities Theatre, University of Waterloo.
Also in the year 2001, the neighbouring Tamils from the 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, ON.; and the Rotary Club of Cambridge, ON.
2004 was a significant year for the association. TCAWR 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.
Tamil community from Brantford joined the association in 2011. In the same year, the association re-established the Tamil language school. Waterloo Regional District School Board helped establish the centre 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 in 2014.
TCAWR 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.