Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Determinants Of Health

Mother Tongue

Mother tongue refers to the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the individual at the time of the Census. In 2016, there was a higher percentage of people living in Simcoe Muskoka (88.4% or 471,745) who reported English as their mother tongue compared to 69.5% (or 9,255,660) in Ontario overall. A smaller percentage of Simcoe Muskoka residents (2.5% or 13,285) reported French as their mother tongue compared to Ontario residents (4.3% or 568,335).

CultChar_MotherTongueSimcoeMuskoka2006GRAPH

Just over 50,500 people (9.5%) in Simcoe Muskoka reported a non-official language as their only mother tongue, a lower proportion than the provincial rate of 26.7%. The top three of these non-official languages were Italian, German and Portuguese. Bradford West Gwillimbury had the largest percentage of persons (28%) with a non-official language as their only mother tongue. Among this percentage, 22% were Portuguese, 12% Italian, and 9% Spanish.

Nearly 290 people (or 1%) that reported having a non-official language as their only mother tongue in Simcoe Muskoka reported having an Indigenous mother tongue, mainly Ojibway. In particular, 19% (or 125 persons) of the population of Christian Island, a First Nations reserve, reported an Aboriginal mother tongue (mostly Ojibway) as their only mother tongue. In addition, 5.7% (or 50 persons) of the population in Mnjikaning First Nation 32 reported Ojibway as their only mother tongue.

European languages topped the list of non-official mother tongue languages in Simcoe Muskoka. In comparison, Asian and Southeast Asian languages were more common non-official mother tongue languages across Ontario.

Top 5 Non-Official Mother Tongue Languages*i
Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario, 2016

Simcoe Muskoka, % (pop.)

Ontario, % (pop.)

Italian, 12% (5,920)

Mandarin, 8% (283,735)

German, 11% (5,435)

Cantonese, 8% (275,315)

Portuguese, 9% (4,655)

Italian, 7% (231,040)

Spanish, 8% (3,835)

Punjabi, 6% (197,060)

Polish, 7% (3,475)

Spanish, 5% (191,025)

Data Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population. * Data is based on “Single Responses” only from the “Most Often” Census question and excludes English and French.
iProportion of the population that has a non-official language as their sole mother tongue.

Note: For the official languages of English and French, the calculations presented here include both single and multiple responses to the question: What is the language that this person first learned at home in childhood and still understands? Totals may not equal 100% due to this and also due to rounding. Non-official languages are based on single responses only, that is, those who report a non-official language as their sole mother tongue.