Faces Of Immigration In Canada Photoblog

Canada is now home to millions of people who were born outside the country.

The Migrant Stories Canada is excited to create a new sub-project that looks at portraying the many faces of immigration in Canada. This photoblog is in collaboration with Colin Corneau, a Winnipeg-based photographer with extensive photography experience. This Photoblog is focussing on the faces rather than the full story under the Migrant Stories. We hope with our platform, we can continue to celebrate the cultural mosaic of Canada with respect to our ethnic origins.

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Faces of Immigration in Canada Continues 🙌

Featured: Magaly Guzman de Diaz

Being an immigrant is not easy for anybody, but it would be harder for many. Always, there are factors either pushing you or making you to leave your native land.
My husband and I made the decision to migrate to Canada in 1998 with our three children. We submitted all the paper work requested by the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program and received our Permanent Resident (PR) visas on August 9, 2000. We left Venezuela August 11, 2000 and arrived in Winnipeg August 12, 2000.
My husband and I had university degrees as Certified Accountants from Venezuela. I have a Master’s in Business (MBA) from U.S.A. After one month of arriving in Winnipeg, my husband started working in a grocery store as a restocking worker. I started as a customer service representative at a call centre three months after our arrival. To us, it was only the beginning of a new life in Canada. My husband used to say: “We set the boat on fire, as some Spaniards did after arriving to the new world; therefore, we have no means to go back. We are here to stay and to succeed.”
We worked and raised our children. I built up my professional career in Canada from a customer service representative to a Director of Finance. Our children experienced strong anxieties and traumas at the beginning and I believe they are over most of them by now. They studied, married, had children and we all are Canadian citizens living in the best world blessed by God.

What does Canada mean to me?
Canada means HOME, where my children live, where my grandchildren were born and where I will be put to rest alongside my late husband. I believe in that familiar phrase “HOME is where your heart is.” My heart is and will stop beating in Canada if that is God’s plan. But I am also proud and thankful to God for my native land Venezuela.
There is another phrase “Having the best of both worlds.” I believe that you can have the best of both worlds, but not at the same time.

📸 @colincorneau - our photographer genius #wizardofphotography

#FIC #facesofimmigrationcanada #photoblog #migrantstories #successstories #venezuela #newcomers #canada #winnipeg
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Name: Heba Abd El Hamid
Country of Origin: #kuwait
Current City: Winnipeg

My experiences in Canada as an ‘immigrant woman’ have been both positive and negative. Positive because Canada is a liberal nation that respects women’s roles and freedom more often than other countries which have provided me with the ability to grow: economically, academically, and professionally without direct constraints or opposition concerning my gender. Concurrently, the negative experiences flourish from these subconscious ideas that immigrant women should not have the same liberties or opportunities that Caucasian women do. At the workplace or in social interactions, I am often ignored, and my skills are neglected because of the instilled ideas that I should be silent and at home. While these questions are often not verbalized, I know it is because I am a woman of colour. Unfortunately, as a woman of colour, I believe I have had to work harder and play into gender politics to attain basic goals. As a woman of colour who is fluent in English and has numerous privileges, I use my voice to advocate for other women of colour; I believe that the only way we will be able to succeed is by raising one another.
📸 @colincorneau
#FIC #facesofimmigrationcanada #photoblog #photography #wizardofphotography #migrantstories #newcomers #successstories #womenofcolour #immigrationmatters #immigrants
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Name: Roselyn Advincula
Country of Origin: Philippines 🇵🇭

As an #Immigrant, my heart is full of gratitude to Canada. Being here, gave me and my family an opportunity to start anew. I feel welcomed and loved in here. I am given the chance to learn new things that I never knew before. I am given the chance to also give back and serve the community in the best and littlest way I can. I am happy to be here and will always have my heart and hand open to those who needs help.
#phillipines #photoblog #migrantstories #facesofimmigrationcanada #immigrationmatters #newcomers #successstories

📸 @colincorneau #photography #wizardofphotography #Winnipeg #Manitoba #Canada
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Name: Claudia Orellana
Country of Origin: El Salvaodor.

I Came to canada 6 years ago from El Salvaodor. I felt in love with the beautiful scenery from all the places I have been living in such as Montral, Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, and Winnipeg. I had great experience, but most of all in love with the kindness of people from all over the world and the feeling of freedom and peace.

I moved to Winnipeg in 2018 from Toronto. I have been active in my community as a volunteer, a fulltime worker, and a fine artist in oil painting.

To all those seeking new adventures, opportunities, or following their dreams like I did, Canada will be a welcoming home . All immigrants have their dreams and stories to tell. I would like to encourage every one of you to keep your dream alive.

#facesofimmigrationcanada #photoblog #facesofimmigration #immigrationmatters #immigration #immigrants #newcomers #canada #successstories #elsalvador

📸 @colincorneau
#photography #winnipeg #photo #portraitphotographer #wizardofphotography
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Name: Nadia Wera
Country of Origin: Kenya

Canada is a place I came to build my legacy. I learnt new cultures, explored my interests & followed my passion  to became an entrepreneur. I call Canada the land of opportunity. A place where you can reach out find resources to become whoever you want to be.
Today, myself alongside a group of young & bright individuals, we run a black hair enterprise called @the_hairbru This was not always the plan - I come from a place where education is everything. From the time I was born, I was to go to school, get good an education, get that job, become a wife, & start a family. Not that it is a bad plan but, I yearned to try something new & break barriers as a woman of color.

After university, I got a good job & I immersed myself more into my new surroundings. It was not always easy; I knew I had to work double & hard to get just half the progress of my peers. I found myself in meetings or circles where I was the only woman of color. I learnt how to adapt by speaking the language, walking the walk, wearing the suits. I was not satisfied with my career path until one day, I made a decision to leave.

In June 2004, I had my first experience with hair industry in Canada, it came from an Asian lady who owned a hair salon on portage ave. I wanted to get my afro hair washed & styled.  As soon as I walked into the hair salon on Portage avenue, all eyes were on me. I did not see color but, the owner along with the others did; they asked me if I was lost. She waved me off at my asking to take care of my hair. I realized Winnipeg had a gap for hair services for the black community.

In the summer of 2018, I became self-employed.  I looked for loans, grants, subsidies that could assist me. Day by day, I found purpose in the work I was doing. Right now, we are having a few pop-up shops & teaching classes, custom wig creations, an endless list of beautiful braids, & being in charge of hair in a movie film all in a short time. It is so surreal!  Today, Hairbru happily employs five staff coming from all different backgrounds.  #migrantstories #photoblog #Winnipeg #canadaimmigration #facesofimmigration #independentwoman 📸 @colincorneau
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Name: Valeria Castellanos
Country of Origin: Mexico

I came to Canada in 2009. One of the most meaningful moments in my life as an immigrant to Canada was when I finalized my permanent residence process. After finishing my paperwork, a Government employee said “welcome to Canada. Your rights as a woman are protected here. You can freely choose your career and profession.” Not only is this true; it is an integral element of what Canada is – we, as women, are free, protected, and empowered to become who we want to be. Working in the settlement sector, I have witnessed many immigrant and refugee women start from scratch – sometimes without speaking English fluently – and become successful professionals, business owners, and/or pillars of their community. It fills my heart whenever I run into a former client or EAL student, and they let me know how well they are doing, how they’ve taken a bit of opportunity and turned it into a mountain of achievement.

What about myself? Well, to me, Canada means diversity, multiculturalism, equal opportunity for anyone willing to work hard. But, more importantly, Canada to me means safety. I am finally home.
#facesofimmigrationcanada #facesofimmigration #photoblog #migrantstories #canada #featureoftheday

📸 @colincorneau - Winnipeg's finest #photographer #winnipeg #photography #photofeature
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Name: Markus Chambers
Country of Origin: Jamaica

While I wasn’t born in Canada I did come here at a very early age, and essentially have grown up in Winnipeg. Throughout my early years, and into my adult years I have always tried to live to the values that my parents instilled in me and my siblings which is to treat people the way you want to be treated. I try to extend this philosophy without reservation.

Growing up in Canada in the last several decades, have not been without challenge. I have never been a person to let the colour of my skin be a barrier to what I want to accomplish, but recognize that I have to work exceptionally harder to be recognized as equal. I believe this is the experience of many people of colour living in Canada.

We are still working to prove ourselves in occupations that we have historically not been representational. In my new role as an elected politician, I continually strive to represent all that I serve and not just the ones that voted for me or the ones from racialized communities.

Canada is a land of boundless opportunities. We are the second largest country in land mass, with a small population by comparison. As we welcome newcomers to this country we need to recognize the diversity that is created, while acknowledging the true stewards of this land our indigenous community.
#photoblog #migrantstories #facesofimmigrationcanada #canada #newcomers #successstories
All this has been a success because of our great collaboration with 📸 @colincorneau
#photography #winnipeg #photographer #portraitphotographer - check him out!
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Name: Sara Usman
Country of Origin: Pakistan

Sara migrated to Canada from Pakistan in 2012, prior to that she lived in England. Coming to Canada has been the best thing happened to her. She was able to leave an abusive relationship, sought shelter for herself and her children and is now helping other women stand up for themselves through her volunteer non profit organization called The Shameless Circle. Her work includes raising awareness on the issue of non consensual distribution of intimate images. Just recently her organization partnered with Manitoba Government to proclaim April 14 as the provincial day to raise awareness on this very issue - the same day she found hidden cameras in her house in 2018. She has since turned her trauma into a healing path forward for women from across the globe.

She recently won the Future Leaders of Manitoba Award and the Mayors Volunteer Service Award.

Blessed to be in a country where equality matter, women’s rights matter. Still a long way to go but working on it -Sara Usman

#photoblog #migrantstories #facesofimmigrationcanada #canada #newcomers #successstories #immigrationmatters #immigrants
📸 @colincorneau
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Part 3 of 3: Present, Reflection and Future

Fast forward four years, and I've opened Tarboosh Middle Eastern grocery store- a specialty Middle Eastern grocery store, where we offer a wide variety of groceries, fresh pita, desserts and halal meats. @tarbooshwpg and @arabesquecaferestaurant complete a part of me that was missing; a connection to Syria's foods, experiences, tastes, and sensations. It is an enormous comfort to countless members of the community and me to offer this little bit of home in Canada. In November, I will announce the opening of Al Basha, another Middle Eastern restaurant that will provide a sit-down restaurant with meals from across the middle east.

As exhausting and demanding my eight years in Canada have been, they have also been infinitely rewarding. I often look back on my father's life and how history repeats itself. He was exiled from Palestine in 1948 and forced to start his life again in Syria. He worked hard and sacrificed so that our family could rebuild their lives and even thrive in another country. I see now that it is my turn to do the same.

After nine years, I feel I have contributed significantly to Manitoba. I have provided a piece of Syria in the heart of Winnipeg. Winnipegger's no longer have to haul items from the Middle East to Canada, but can find them here. It helps ease the transition for new immigrants and creates a sense of community and nostalgia for all.
So many times in the past decade, I've felt my destiny was beyond my control. Finally, though, I feel a deep sense of home. I am grateful for all the support I've received through the years, which only makes me want to work harder for myself and the community that has grown around me. I am thankful for everyone who helped make this journey a lot less lonely. #photoblog #migrantstories #newcomers #refugees #refugeeswelcome #facesofimmigrationcanada #Winnipeg #successstories
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Part 2 of 3

Name: Mohammad Naser
Country of Origin: Palestine

The first couple of years were painful and exhausting. I worked in numerous jobs while learning English. I would use google translate to interpret conversations and get around the grocery store. While I worked to survive, I longed for the food and people back home. I thought of the life I had left behind; the love and the joy of breaking bread with the ones you love. It was a difficult time in my life.

In 2015, the government of Canada announced it would bring Syrian refugees to Canada. At this point, I felt the call of destiny once again, but this time I was in control. I knew I had to step up and help make sure their transition into Canada was easier than my journey. I started working at MIIC (Welcome Place) as a housing director and helped Syrian families transition into their new lives and homes.
I knew that helping find work and learn English was only a part of that process. People need a sense of community and culture. I thought of how much I missed the food from back home and the space to gather with friends and family. In 2016, inspired by this longing, I opened Arabesque Hookah Café & Restaurant.

Arabesque was one of the first Middle Eastern restaurants in Winnipeg. We created a space for members of the community to gather and eat authentic food. It quickly became a space to get together over coffee or food and shisha to chat, just like we did in Syria. It also became a broader gathering point for Winnipeggers from different backgrounds and experiences. I was proud to see and share the love of my culture with so many other communities. It was beautiful to see so many different people come together to share their experiences and culture.
#facesofimmigrationcanada #canada🇨🇦 #newcomers #refugees #migrantstories 📸 @colincorneau #immigrationmatters #refugeeswelcome #winnipeg @arabesquecaferestaurant #photoblog
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Part 1 of 3

Name: Mohammad Naser
Country of Origin: Palestine

In early 2012, I came to Canada for a vacation on a visitor's visa. The plan was to return to Syria in a couple of months. Little did I know, I would never see Syria again. As the days passed, and the height of the civil war continued to destroy the nation, I was left with no choice but to seek refuge in Canada. Like all refugees, forcefully leaving your home is incredibly painful and traumatic. You leave behind your entire life with the knowledge you might never see your home again. You settle in a foreign land where you might not know the language or culture. It is not a decision to be made lightly.

I never had an option to make a choice, it was made for me. I left Syria with the intention of returning after a few months. I never had a chance to say goodbye. As the conflict worsened, I had no opportunity to prepare for the journey that I was about to face. I was completely unprepared financially for what the future held for me. As part of the application for a visitor's visa, I provided a bank statement that included all of my assets. Before the Civil War, my family business was a major contracting firm for UNREWA (United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees). When the civil war broke out we had numerous assets and funds frozen by the central bank of Syria: meaning any money in the bank was as good as gone. In the eyes of the government of Canada, though, I was a "wealthy man" and ineligible for government subsidies and support for newcomers and refugees. It became clear that I was completely on my own in a country where I didn't speak the language, had no access to my money and no way to return to Syria. Once again, I felt helpless, with no control over my destiny. At this turning point, it became clear that I had no option if I would survive in Canada; I needed to learn the language and get a job. I signed myself up for English classes and slowly learned to communicate. Using the knowledge and expertise of my family business, I was able to get a construction job. #photoblog #facesofimmigration #canada🇨🇦 #migrantstories #newcomers 📸 @Colin Corneau
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Name: Kishor Modha
Country of Origin: Uganda

On leaving Uganda, arrived in Canada in 1975 after spending 3 years in the USA. My brother/sister-in-law attracted us here. When I applied for immigration to Canada from USA, I was given visa to move here as I was told that there was need for wildlife biologists ( I qualified as a Zoologist with Master from Uganda). But did not get a job in wildlife field.
Initially took odd jobs. In 1976 I got involved with a photographic company called Souter Studios.  I turned my photographic hobby into a profession. I opened a studio in Thompson, Manitoba and lived there for six years. I moved to Winnipeg in 1982 where I opened two more studios.
In 1986 helped my two nephews and their two friends (also brothers) in starting up of their business – Mondetta Clothing Company. This is now a multi-million business trading in the USA and Canada. I have served as manager/administrator/HR  at Mondetta Clothing Co till 2014 when I retired from the Company.

In 2005 the Company established Mondetta Charity Foundation with me as a Chairman/President. We have been supporting a school in Uganda and an orphanage in Kenya for last 15 years. I still provide volunteer service to the Foundation.

Canada has been very nice to my family and myself. Canada is home country as my two boys are born here. Uganda is my birth country which I have deep love for. Ironically, I have gone back to Uganda even though I was expelled by previous regime. Reason being the love for the country and gentle Ugandan.

What does Canada mean to you?

Pierre Trudeau was reason why Canada rescued Ugandan Asians during President Idi Amin’s Asian expulsion crisis.
Even before coming here, I admired Canada for its non-alignment philosophy.
Canada has been involved in peace missions all over the world especially in Rwanda and Zaire (formerly Congo). Its presence in various countries has been appreciated and admired. United Nations has chosen Canada as the best country to live in.
Canada’s national multicultural attitude towards its population is very much admired. 📸@ColinCorneau
#photoblog #migrantstories #canada #facesofimmigrationcanada
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Name: Abdul-Bari Abdul-Karim
Country of Origin: Ghana

I moved to Canada as an international student to pursue my Masters in the Department of Sociology & Criminology at the University of Manitoba. I had a great transition to the new academic environment with the passionate support from my graduate supervisor, Dr. Lori Wilkinson, who mentored me throughout my academic journey to the workplace.
As an international student with interest in newcomer issues, research and policies, I volunteered in multiple newcomer settlement sector organizations in Winnipeg to contribute my quota to the support of newcomer children, youth, and their families in successfully resettling and integrating into their new home. Upon completion of my master’s program, I was able to attain employment at the Newcomers Employment and Education Development Services (N.E.E.D.S.) Inc. as an Education Specialist. My job satisfaction has always been seeing immigrant and refugee children and youth succeeding in schools, advancing into post-secondary, and working in their chosen careers after graduation.

Canada means a lot to me especially, it has exposed me to people of different cultural backgrounds to positively influence my life, career, and perceptions of other people over the years. Canada has provided me the necessary opportunity to achieve my long-term goal of assisting marginalized groups in society in various capacities to have equal and equitable opportunities in successfully accessing education and labour market and realizing their dreams. I have also been able to impart my acquired knowledge in the immigration research field by researching into barriers of foreign credential recognition and access to regulated professions in Manitoba. #photoblog #migrantstories #facesofimmigrationcanada #canada
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Name: Elizabeth Asiimwe
Country of Origin: Born in Canada / Raised in Uganda

Growing up, I never knew I was different until I reached high school. It was in high school where, I discovered that I was different in terms of my skin colour. Growing up in Uganda, my parents told me I was born in Canada. I only knew Uganda, and it has always been my home country. The time came for me to travel back to Canada, the country where I was born. The country I knew I was going to start a new life far from home, family, and friends. Before leaving for Canada, my dad told me, "people are going to treat you different but, always remember you are special and unique."
Upon my arrival in Canada, I experienced seeing snow for the first time; it was an exciting, and strange experience. My dad’s friends picked me up from the airport and they were white friends. I noticed there were a lot of white people around me, and this is where it hit me, and I remembered what my dad told me.
The people seemed nice, and welcoming. My dad's friends took me to the hostel where I was going to be staying while in school. I felt sad and lonely; I did not have anyone around me - I had no family to run to. I could not connect with someone in fear that they would not understand me. The good thing is that I knew English, and I understood it very well, but I had difficulty talking, and connecting with white people.
School was a hustle for the first year with a new program, and the lectures were different. On top of that, I was a shy girl, but I eventually picked up on everything to do with academics. Things turned around when I met a new friend from Kenya. She was awesome, she was more outgoing, and she encouraged me to be more assertive and speak up. She encouraged me to say no to what I did not like especially to a white person, I was afraid of white people and I do not know why(lol).

It has been quite a difficult journey to settle in Canada as a young woman of colour. I had to get strong every day, and I embraced my colour, and had to remind myself that I am beautiful and unique. My friends say, ‘melanin popping,’ and I am not ashamed of being Black.
#newcomers #migrantstories #photoblog
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Name: Marion Warkotsch
Country of Origin: Germany

I came to Canada in January of 2008. At first, I didn’t want to be here, but my parents had made the decision to pack our lives into two suitcases each, and start a better life across the pond. Here I am, almost 13 years later and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.
Coming to Canada as an immigrant was hard, with having to pay extra fees for college and trying to make it through the months on minimum wages, but in the end, the struggles and sleepless nights of working and studying have paid off. I graduated with a college diploma and bachelor degree, and now, I am finishing my designation as a CPA soon. I can say that Canada has so many opportunities for people that are driven, focused, determined, and willing to go the extra mile to make their dreams come true! Canada, you are truly a blessing!!

#facesofimmigrationcanada #facesofimmigrationcanada #migrantstories #newcomers #canada #photoblog
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Name: Hector Colombo
Country if Origin: Argentina

Being an immigrant in Canada was one of the most significant experiences of my life. Canada’s nature, people and way of life affected and changed me for the rest of my life. My experience was even better than I could have imagined. I met new people, made new friends, and visited new places. My family is living here with happiness, safety and liberty, we are so grateful for having the chance to live, study and work in Canada! Regarding my particular experience, I started working in helping other immigrants and seniors about basic computer knowledge. Doing that, I had the chance to receive so many gratefulness, handshakes and smiles from unknown people, that it made me see the world and job in a different way. I learned that teaching, giving or helping others is a wonderful occupation, and that I want to continue doing the same. Canada gave me so many things that the day is not enough to do everything!

#facesofimmigrationcanada #facesofimmigration #photoblog
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Name: Bisong Taiwo
Country of Origin: Nigeria

I came to Canada as an international student over a decade ago and since then, Canada has become my home. Life in Canada as an immigrant has been filled with several positive experiences: low unemployment rates, constant electricity, clean water, decent roads, relative safety and security all contribute to making Canada a beautiful and peaceful country to live in. A staggering 98% of employer businesses are SMEs, of which my little video production company is among, and Canada has lots of facilities in place to sustain small businesses like mine. I couldn't be happier to call Canada my home.
📸 @colincorneau

#facesofimmigrationcanada #facesofimmigration #photoblog
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Meet Colin Corneau - Our Photographer

@colincorneau is a photographer based in #Winnipeg #Manitoba, near the longitudinal centre of Canada and not far from the geographic centre of North America.
He brings 25 years of experience as a daily media photojournalist to your event, portrait or idea. He also shares the experience of extended visits to China, Thailand, Nepal and other countries with his work. 
Colin has learned first-hand of the value #imigrants brings to our society, from decades as a newspaper photographer seeing the positive effects #newcomers have on the communities they join, to personal friendships with people from all continents. It's his hope that his photography can be a way to introduce our newer friends, neighbours, and colleagues to #Canadians.

#photoblog
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Reposted from @colincorneau First portrait from yesterday’s session with the radiant @maruschka90 for the @stories_migrant initiative. Marion came to Canada from Germany and is just one part of the mosaic that is bringing so much to our country. Keep watching MigrantStories.ca to see the project take shape!

#winnipegphotographer #portraitphotographer #shotoncanon #canoncanada #theportraitproject - #regrann

#migrantstories #newcomers #canada🇨🇦 #migrantjournal #migrantexperience #photoblog
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