Thousands of people move to Canada from other countries each year. They bring their skills, talents and hopes for contributing to their new home. Your interest in reading this profile may come from being involved in a HOST Program, in which you have the opportunity to meet people from Sri Lanka and introduce them to life in Canada. You may have met Sri Lankans through your work or have Sri Lankan students at your school. Whatever your source of interest, this profile will help you understand something about life in Sri Lanka.

Many Sri Lankans come to Canada yearly. The majority settle in Toronto or Montreal. Like any newcomers, they wonder how to find work, where to worship, what schools their children should attend, where to shop and find housing, and what their new home will be like. Answering your friends' questions will help them settle. You will also find that you have much to learn from them.

Although this cultural profile provides insights into some customs, it does not cover all facets of life. The customs described may not apply in equal measure to all newcomers from Sri Lanka.

  Summary Fact Sheet

Official Name Sri Lanka
Capital City Colombo
Type of Government Democratic Socialist Republic
Population 19 million
Area 65,600 sq. km
Major Ethnic Groups Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamil, Indian Tamil, Sri Lankan Moor, Burgher, Malay, Veddah
Languages Sinhala, Tamil, English
Religions Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam
Unit of Currency Rupee
National Flag A yellow background with a dark-red square containing a golden lion carrying a sword. In each corner of the square is a leaf of the bo tree, sacred to Buddhists. Left of the square are two vertical stripes, green and orange, representing the Muslim and Tamil peoples.
Date of Independence February 4, 2022

  Did you know?
The road to Colombo airport was improved with the help of the Canadian government and is called the Canada Friendship Road.

  Did you know?
Canadian Michael Ondaatje, an internationally acclaimed novelist and poet, was born in Sri Lanka. His book The English Patient (1992) won the Governor General's Award and the Booker Prize.