First national award for immigrants results in more than 10,000 votes
TORONTO, May 25 /CNW/ - A human rights defender, a filmmaker and a
scientist are among the winners of the first-ever Top 25 Canadian Immigrants
awards. The national awards program, which is being presented by Canadian
Immigrant magazine and sponsored by RBC, seeks to uncover and celebrate the
untold stories and remarkable achievements of outstanding Canadian immigrants
and inspire others.
The winners were selected by more than 10,000 Canadians who voted online
for their favourites. Winners will be honoured this week in Vancouver (May 25)
or Toronto (May 28) at ceremonies hosted by Citizenship and Immigration
"It is exciting to celebrate the contributions that immigrants make to
the social, economic, and political fabric of our country," said Jason Kenney,
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who will attend the
Toronto ceremonies on Thursday. "As Canadians, we have found great success in
the coming together of diverse cultures. Celebrations like this remind us how
very fortunate we are to live in a country that embraces the many traditions
of the world."
"Canada is a nation built by immigrants and we need to recognize and
celebrate their accomplishments while providing positive role models for
newcomers at the same time," added Nick Noorani, founder and publisher of
Canadian Immigrant magazine. "It is exciting to see such a distinguished
group, selected by the public, come together in an atmosphere of celebration,
to share and acknowledge each other's personal and professional
accomplishments with the nation."
The awards program launched in November 2008 with a nation-wide
call-for-nominations, garnered hundreds of submissions over a two-month
period, from which 75 semi-finalists were shortlisted by a panel of Canadian
Immigrant judges. Voting was then opened online at canadianimmigrant.ca for
the public to select their favourites among the 75 semi-finalists. From
February to April, 2009, more than 10,000 Canadians voted for the Top 25
"RBC has been looking after the needs of new immigrants to Canada for
over seven generations," said Andrea Metrick, head, Client Strategy and
Multicultural Markets, at RBC. "On behalf of all RBC employees, we want to
extend our warm congratulations to each of the winners and our appreciation to
all nominees and voters who participated in this inaugural year."
Winners are featured on canadianimmigrant.ca and in the June edition of
Canadian Immigrant magazine. Winners receive a commemorative certificate and
lapel pin as well as a $250 donation toward an authorized Canadian charity of
About the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Awards
Canadian Immigrant Magazine, a print and online magazine serving
immigrants to Canada, in association with RBC, present the "Top 25
Canadian Immigrants of 2009" - a people's choice award that seeks to
uncover and celebrate the untold stories and remarkable achievements of
outstanding Canadian immigrants from all walks of life. To view this
year's winners, visit www.canadianimmigrant.ca/top25
Synopsis of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2009:
Girish Agrawal of Calgary, AB, is an award winning financial adviser and
Birinder Singh Ahluwalia of Toronto, ON, is the president of
BSA Diagnostic Ltd., one of the largest radiological diagnostic centres
of its kind in Canada. He's a philanthropist who freely supports
community projects as well as cultural and educational causes.
Naseer Ahmad of Vaughan, ON, oversaw the construction of Canada's first
Islamic residential subdivision with homes surrounding a mosque in the
Francis Amara of Winnipeg, MB, is an associate professor of biochemistry
and medical genetics. This Sierra Leone native co-founded Sierra Leone
Refugee Inc., and founded the Head Start Aboriginal Biomedical Youth
James Atebe of Mission, BC, is British Columbia's first African Canadian
mayor. The Kenya native's platform is to grow the City of Mission and
encourage a community where people can live, work and play.
Elaine Chan of Calgary, AB, is the founder of the Chinese Academy
accredited to the Alberta Education, offering Cantonese and Mandarin
classes from Kindergarten to Grade 12 levels, along with a Chinese as a
Second Language program.
Chia-yi Chua of Toronto, ON, is a partner in national law firm Fraser
Milner Casgrain's Tax Law Group in Toronto. He has contributed to several
professional and community initiatives, including serving on his law
firm's diversity committee and mentoring young lawyers.
Adrienne Clarkson of Ottawa, ON, came to Canada as a child refugee with
her family. She was appointed governor-general - the first modern-day
immigrant, second female and first nonwhite person to become governor
general of Canada. She now serves her country as co-chair of the
Institute for Canadian Citizenship.
Baltej Singh Dhillon of Surrey, BC, is the RCMP sergeant best known for
being the first RCMP officer to be allowed to wear a turban. He's
currently a member of the guild of speakers with Passages to Canada and
director of 3HO Organization in Vancouver.
Narinder Dhir of Burnaby, BC, is a retired businessman and former
governor in counsel on the Multicultural Advisory Council that formed the
multicultural policy for British Columbia. He also helped found the first
Hindu temple in B.C.
Ujjal Dosanjh of Vancouver, BC, is currently a member of Parliament and
community activist. He is a former attorney general and premier of
British Columbia, and a former federal minister of health.
Mario Guilombo of Toronto, ON, came to Canada from Colombia and founded
both Casa de las Americas and Collective Human Rights Defender to help
fight human rights abuse.
John Halani of Vancouver, BC, from Uganda founded the Ethno Business
Council and owns two hotels often used as temporary accommodations for
newcomers landing in Vancouver. The philanthropist is also consul general
Michaelle Jean of Ottawa, ON, immigrated to Canada from Haiti. Before
becoming Canada's 27th Governor General, she worked in a shelter for
battered women and as a journalist and anchor at Radio-Canada and CBC
Deepa Mehta of Toronto, ON, an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, was
nominated for an Oscar in best foreign language film category, making it
Canada's first non-French-language film to be selected.
Rossbina Nathoo of Calgary, AB, from Uganda volunteers with many
community organizations and founded F.O.C.U.S. on Seniors (Friendship,
Opportunities, Community Involvement, Unity and Synergy).
Body Ngoy of Ottawa, ON, is a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He founded a co-op named Cooperative Franco-Presence: its mission is to
create real intercultural bridges between people and communities in
Martha Lucia Nino of Milton, ON, a former lawyer from Colombia, created
Abanico Magazine, which is aimed at the Canadian Hispanic community.
Lorelei and Rosalind Silverman of Toronto, ON, from Romania are sisters
and scientists who have made many contributions to their Toronto
community through their work in neuroscience and cell biology.
Dr. Colin Saldanha of Mississauga, ON, is a medical doctor who presently
works at the Peel Travel Clinic, which provides medical advice to
travelers. He's also worked as an immigration medical officer, an
aviation medical examiner with the Ministry of Transportation and a
designated physician for the RCMP.
Terry Sawh of Toronto, ON, is the founder and president of Topnotch
Employment Services Inc., and champions the cause of supplier diversity
Hari Varshney of Vancouver, BC, is a venture capitalist and heads his own
family-owned Varshney Capital Corporation. As a philanthropist, he has
donated $1 million to his alma mater, University of British Columbia.
Marcello Veiga of Vancouver, BC, is a UBC professor originally from
Brazil who works actively in the continuing education of artisanal gold
miners to promote safer methods to increase production, reduce water
pollution and mercury intoxication of gold miners and their families - a
problem that affects 100 million people.
Anupama Vittal of Mississauga, ON, is the president of the Mississauga
Art Society and also the CEO and founder of the Bean Bag Factory Inc. and
Wendy Yuan of Vancouver, BC, is President and CEO of Bradley Pacific
Enterprises and also a former candidate with the Liberal Party of Canada
in British Columbia. She was appointed as Leader's Representative to the
Liberal Party of Canada (B.C.) by then Prime Minister Paul Martin.About Canadian Immigrant and canadianimmigrant.ca
Attracting over 275,000 readers each month, Canadian Immigrant helps new
Canadians build a successful life and home during their first years in Canada.
Its mandate to inform, educate and motivate provides hands-on, easy-to-access
content for newcomers looking for information - from careers, education and
settling in to culture, money and business. The monthly print publication is
distributed in Toronto and Vancouver. canadianimmigrant.ca reaches immigrants
nationwide, offering tools and resources that help newcomers settle into their
new communities - connecting immigrants with each other as well as with
immigrant experts and prospective employers. Along with exclusive online
stories and special series, canadianimmigrant.ca offers free access to
interactive job, school and home finders plus immigrant experts at Ask the
Expert, where immigrants can send in their pressing questions on various
topics relevant to newcomers.
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For further information: Canadian Immigrant: Nick Noorani, (778)