Canadians choose Top 25 Canadian Immigrants

    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 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 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
their choice.

    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

    Synopsis of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2009:

    Girish Agrawal of Calgary, AB, is an award winning financial adviser and
    community leader.

    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
    for Uganda.

    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
    Eastern Ontario.

    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
    among organizations.

    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
    Artescape Anua.

    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

    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. 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, 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.

    About RBC

    Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate
under the master brand name RBC. We are Canada's largest bank as measured by
assets and market capitalization, one of North America's leading diversified
financial services companies and among the largest banks in the world, as
measured by market capitalization. We provide personal and commercial banking,
wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and
transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ more than 80,000
full- and part-time employees who serve more than 18 million personal,
business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada,
the U.S. and 52 other countries. For more information, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Canadian Immigrant: Nick Noorani, (778)

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