TORONTO — Language is no barrier at Roadsport Honda, which has helped the dealership forge relationships with customers in one of the most multicultural cities in the world.
Fifteen languages are spoken at Roadsport, which is in Scarborough, a former suburb on the eastern end of Toronto that is one of the most diverse areas in the country. According to Statistics Canada and the 2016 census, 57 per cent of residents in Scarborough were immigrants, while 73 per cent identified as minorities.
The dealership is in a particularly diverse neighbourhood: According to an August 2018 analysis of census data by the Toronto Star, 85 per cent of the population surrounding Roadsport Honda identifies as a “visible minority,” including 33 per cent of residents who are South Asian, 13 per cent who are Filipino and 12 per cent who are Chinese.
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Craig Cowling, general manager of Roadsport Honda, said his employees’ ability to speak different languages can help immigrants and others who aren’t proficient in English feel more comfortable while shopping.
“We’re trying to speak more to the customers, right?” Cowling said. “It does lend a bit of a comfort level for some new immigrants, let’s say, who don’t really speak English, in some cases, that being their second language or in other cases a third language. It’s more of a matter of comfort to the clients.”
He said Cantonese, Mandarin and Urdu are the most commonly spoken languages aside from English, a reflection of the surrounding neighbourhood.
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