The culture, diversity and economic advantages of Lethbridge’s growing immigrant population is being seen more and more across the city, especially with the opening of new authentic restaurants and stores.
One family in particular looking to contribute to the growing versatility of the local market is Jerardo Balderas and his family, who immigrated from Mexico 11 years ago.
Now settled in Lethbridge, they have recently opened their own authentic restaurant and are excited to share their culture with the local community.
“We are providing options that you guys maybe didn’t have before,” Balderas said.
His family owns the new restaurant Tacos Made in Mexico.
“We didn’t really have a place authentically Mexican before and in that way, we kind of expand that area of the market.”
Chasing a life of more opportunities, Balderas and his family are just a handful of the many immigrants in Lethbridge who are contributing to the community in such a vital way.
“We need to continue to have immigrants come to our community in order to grow the population and in order to provide skilled workers for our expanding businesses,” said Trevor Lewington, CEO at Economic Development Lethbridge.
“Immigration is really fundamentally important to how we continue to grow the economy.”
With the 2016 census showing that in Alberta, more than one in five residents are immigrants, Lewington also added that immigration is widely needed within Canada to help sustain the domestic demand.
“Canada is an immigration-based economy, so typically our domestic birth rates aren’t high enough to meet our own domestic needs and Lethbridge is no exception to that.”
Although the Balderas’ restaurant has only been open for eight weeks, the business is already gaining attention.
“We’re super happy that a lot of people are supporting us,” Balderas said, “and that we’re able to be here in this country and make our dreams come true by opening up our business.”
And with new immigrants continuing to call Lethbridge home in the years to come, the local economy should continue to grow more diverse.