Because of immigration restrictions on South Asians, Canada’s Pakistani communities did not begin to be established until well into the 1960s. According to the Encyclopedia of Canada’s Peoples, "When the 1951 quota system that provided places for 100 Pakistanis was replaced with a point system in 1967, the number of Pakistani settlers rapidly increased, approaching 50,000 by the mid-1980s." The majority of this group of new immigrants settled in Toronto and Montreal. In 1972 Voice of Pakistan began publishing in Toronto. It ran for about a year under that name, then changed its title to The Fortnightly Crescent, and then just The Crescent, under which name it was known until 1981. At that time it changed names again to Al-Hilal (which means "crescent" in Urdu) and continued publishing until the late 1990s.
Throughout its run, this newspaper published both English and Urdu-language sections, and covered issues related to Canada and South Asia, as well as world affairs. It was an activist newspaper which took strong political stances and reached out to non-Pakistani Muslims and other groups with similar concerns. The run of The Crescent presented here, 1973 to 1981, includes the years of the Pakistani community’s growth and establishment in Canada, and these forces are reflected in its pages. Earlier issues of the newspaper are located in the Voice of Pakistan (1972-1973) collection; later issues are available in the Al-Hilal (1981-1987) collection.
Contributed by Multicultural History Society of Ontario.