Canada has spoken: Top 25 Immigrants of 2011
Canadian Immigrant Magazine and RBC Honour Canada's Top
TORONTO, May 16, 2011 - A famous Dragon investor,
a former Toronto Argonaut coach and an influential former
Cabinet minister are among the winners of the third annual
Top 25 Canadian Immigrant awards presented by Canadian Immigrant
Magazine and sponsored by RBC. This national people's choice
award celebrates the untold inspiring stories and remarkable
achievements of immigrants to Canada.
More than 25,000 Canadians voted online for their top choices,
up 15,000 votes from two years ago. The award recipients will
be honoured at ceremonies held in Toronto on May 16 and in
Vancouver on May 26.
"The number of outstanding nominees in our third annual
Top 25 awards program has made it profoundly clear that immigrants
to Canada are having a positive impact on the country,"
says Margaret Jetelina, editor of Canadian Immigrant Magazine.
"The stories of the 25 who were voted in as this year's
winners are inspirational and serve as wonderful examples
for all newcomers."
The Top 25 winners will receive a commemorative certificate
and lapel pin, as well as a $500 donation towards an authorized
Canadian charity of their choice. Winners will be featured
on canadianimmigrant.ca and in the June 2011 edition of Canadian
"On behalf of RBC, it's an honour to celebrate the award
winners," said Camon Mak, director, Multicultural Markets,
RBC. "Harnessing the strength of our diversity not only
enriches the communities where we live and work every day,
but gives Canada a true competitive advantage globally. We
hope the winners' stories will inspire others to follow their
dreams and achieve their full potential."
This year's awards program received more than 500 nominations
over a two-month period, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted
by a panel of Canadian Immigrant Magazine judges. The awards
program was also supported by the Toronto Star, Metro and
The Top 25 Canadian Immigrants 2011:
- Ahmed Abdullahi (Edmonton, Alberta/Somalia)
is a youth and family counselor. He uses a positive
approach to help immigrant youth adjust to Canadian society.
He works at the Edmonton Mennonite Community Centre for
- Leticia Adair (Saint John, New Brunswick/Mexico)
is a refugee support co-ordinator who has worked with refugees
and newcomers, without expecting any remuneration.
- Liliana Angarita (Toronto, Ontario/Columbia) is
a human rights activist originally from Colombia. As a director
at the Social and Communitarian Centre, she is educating
the public on matters relating to human rights.
- Ari Asmar (Edmonton, Alberta/Iraq) is a master
electrician. Although he's been in Canada less than 10 years,
he devotes lots of time to volunteering in his community,
such as with a YMCA newcomers program.
- Jean Augustine (Toronto, Ontario/Grenada) has been
a formidable force in Canadian politics. The former member
of Parliament and Cabinet member introduced Black History
Month and is now Ontario's Fairness Commissioner.
- Baljit Bawa (Brampton, Ontario/India) is an IT
professional, but it's his volunteer work that makes him
shine. Bawa has volunteered for various organizations like
United Way, Kidsnow.ca, PC Kids Charity, BMO Fountain of
Hope and President's Choice Children's Charity.
- Michael 'Pinball' Clemons (Toronto, Ontario/United
States) played football for the Canadian Football League
before becoming coach of the Toronto Argonauts. Clemons
was the first black head coach to win a Grey Cup championship.
- Guilherme Dias (Mississauga, Ontario/India) is
director of strategic talent management for Pitney Bowes
Canada. He has worked toward hiring and development of immigrant
talent in the industry.
- Audrey D'Souza-Moraes (Nobleton, Ontario/Uganda)
who owned a successful wedding business and a learning centre
for 10 years, was a teacher, principal and now runs a collection
agency. She helped build, name and open the new St. Mary's
school and Parish in Nobleton.
- Esa Para Esananda (Mississauga, Ontario/Sri Lanka)
has served on the boards of several community organizations
and has taught at schools through Junior Achievement Inc.
- Karim Hakimi (Toronto, Ontario/Iran) is the founder
and owner of Hakim Optical in Toronto. He has donated hundreds
of thousands of pairs of eyeglasses through Rotary Club
and Lions International for more than 40 years.
- Robert Herjavec (Toronto, Ontario/Croatia) is known
as the nice dragon on the TV show Dragon's Den, nurturing
the growth of other entrepreneurs. The businessman built
Brak Systems that he subsequently sold to AT&T Canada
for an estimated $100 million.
- Alan Ho (Markham, Ontario/Hong Kong) is an entrepreneur
and city councillor. He also owns an apparel manufacturing
company and also dedicates time to volunteering in the community
in everything from Scouts to softball to politics.
- Toshi Jackson (Calgary, Alberta/United States) began
a vocal and performing school and established the performing
group Toshi Jackson and Silhouettes, an early practitioner
of live Motown music in Calgary, while also giving back
to the community.
- Mike Jang (Vancouver, B.C./China) is an entrepreneur
who has not only built a successful business, but also has
helped improve his hometown, particularly Chinatown, with
various initiatives and fundraising efforts.
- Mythili Kalyanasundaram (Ottawa, Ontario/India)
is a high school mathematics teacher who initiated the Asian
Blood Donor Clinic in her city. Service to humanity is important
to her, and she has received many awards for her community
- Ihor Kozak (Oshawa, Ontario/Ukraine) is an engineer
who has served the country as a decorated officer in the
Canadian Forces and is an active volunteer in the Ukrainian
- Aditya Mohan (Surrey, B.C./India) is a life insurance
agent by day, but in his spare time, the passionate he works
to fight immigration fraud at a grassroots level.
- Pyarali Nanji (Markham, Ontario/Uganda) is a philanthropic
entrepreneur. Pyarali Nanji has been a recognized philanthropist
to health care institutions in Toronto and Montreal for
the past 15 years. He has generously supported Sunnybrook
Health Sciences Centre, North York General Hospital, Aga
Khan University and Hospital, Homewood Health Centre and
St. Mary's Hospital in Ontario.
- Gautam Nath (Toronto, Ontario/India) is a marketing
executive who succeeded rapidly after landing in Canada.
He makes every effort to share his message of making it
in the country by mentoring other newcomers.
- Nick (Naeem) Noorani (Vancouver, B.C./India) is
the founder and former publisher of Canadian Immigrant magazine.
He is an author and a motivational speaker. He is also known
as a social entrepreneur with a focus on helping immigrants
in Canada settle in and succeed.
- Royson Ng (Markham, Ontario/Malaysia) immigrated
to Canada in 1990 and is now the president of Samtack Inc.,
a company with an annual revenue of more than $100 million.
He sits on the Toronto Board of Trade as director to promote
multiculturalism into the mainstream.
- Victor Oh (Mississauga, Ontario/Singapore) is president
of Wyford Holdings Ltd. Originally from Singapore, he actively
assists newcomers to the Peel Region to open businesses
and integrate. He received the Government of Canada's prestigious
Citation for Citizenship.
- Alex Sangha (Delta, B.C./United Kingdom) is a social
worker. He is a vocal advocate for the marginalized and
oppressed in society and co-founder of Mindset (Mental Health
Education, Awareness and Support) at the Progressive Intercultural
Community Services Society.
- Zulima Wesso (St. Catharines, Ontario/Colombia)
is director of Latin publication Kiddo Magazine, an architect
and interior designer. Wesso is also co-founder of Luna
Art Club for children.
About the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants
Canadian Immigrant Magazine, a print and online magazine serving
new immigrants to Canada, in association with RBC, is pleased
to present the "Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2011"
- 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
About Canadian Immigrant Magazine and
Attracting more than 325,000 readers each month in print and
online, Canadian Immigrant Magazine helps new Canadians build
a successful life and home during their first years in Canada.
Its mandate is to inform, educate and motivate and connect
by providing 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
offers tools and resources that help newcomers across Canada
and the globe. Canadian Immigrant Magazine is a division of
Star Media Group, which is broadly based with interests in
print, digital and broadcast media, led by its flagship property,
the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, which is read
in print and online (thestar.com)
by 2.8 million readers every week.
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For more information, please contact:
Sanjay Agnihotri, 416-933-3411
Jill Quinn, 416-313-8121