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Canada has spoken: Top 25 Immigrants of 2012

Canadian Immigrant Magazine and RBC Honour Canada's Top 25

TORONTO, May 29, 2012 - Hip-hop artist K'naan, Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, Olympic wrestling legend Daniel Igali and many other community leaders from across Canada are among the winners of the fourth annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrants awards presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by RBC. This national people's choice award celebrates the untold and inspiring stories and achievements of newcomers to Canada.

More than 28,000 Canadians voted online for their top choices, the largest number since the awards program began in 2009. The award recipients will be honoured at ceremonies in Toronto on May 29 and in Vancouver on June 5.

"Even though this is our fourth annual awards, there is no shortage of immigrants deserving to be recognized for their contribution to Canada," said Margaret Jetelina, editor, Canadian Immigrant magazine. "The calibre of our 25 winners - indeed of all the 75 shortlisted candidates - attests to that. From professional athletes, artists and politicians to entrepreneurs, philanthropists and community activists, the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2012 are inspiring role models not only for all immigrants, but also for everyone born in Canada."

The Top 25 winners will receive a commemorative certificate and a $500 donation towards a registered Canadian charity of their choice. Winners will be featured on canadianimmigrant.ca.

"On behalf of RBC, I want to congratulate and recognize this year's winners for their contribution to Canada's prosperity," said Paul Sy, director, Multicultural Markets, RBC. "Newcomers bring their unique skills and talents, which benefit us all and enrich Canada's productivity and diversity."

More than 550 nominations were received over a two-month period from which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a panel of judges comprised of past winners. The awards program is also supported by the Toronto Star, Metro, Suhaag and Sing Tao.

The Top 25 Canadian Immigrants of 2012 are (in alphabetical order):

  • Francis Atta (Toronto, ON/Ghana) is founder of K.E.Y.S., a motivational speaking company through which he encourages people to return to school or look for a more satisfying job.
  • Kehar Singh Aujla (Burnaby, BC/India) is an avid volunteer with nine organizations, including Volunteer Grandparents.
  • Iman Biock Aghay (Port Coquitlam, BC/Iran) is a recent immigrant who has an Internet consulting firm, Success Road Enterprises, and founded a Vancouver networking group.
  • Juan Carranza (Toronto, ON/El Salvador) is the first lawyer from Central American to be called to the Law Society of Upper Canada.
  • Olivia Chow (Toronto, ON/Hong Kong) is Member of Parliament for the federal riding of Trinity-Spadina, and wife of the late NDP leader Jack Layton.
  • Isabel Cisterna (Waterloo, ON/Chile) is the owner of Neruda Productions, which provides space for new immigrant aspiring artists to showcase their talents.
  • Narima Dela Cruz (Surrey, BC/Philippines) is a realtor and community activist.
  • Meleni David (Toronto, ON/Sri Lanka) is an entrepreneur and lawyer.
  • Jagjit Singh Hans (Tiger Jeet Singh) - (Milton, ON/India) is a former professional wrestler and philanthropist.
  • Daniel Igali (Surrey, BC/Nigeria) is an Olympic wrestling legend who founded a school in Nigeria.
  • Commodore Hans Jung (Ottawa, ON/Korea) is Surgeon General of the Canadian Forces and spearheaded the establishment of physician assistants in Canada.
  • Suresh Kurl (Richmond, BC/India) is a former University of British Columbia professor, social worker and member of the National Parole Board, who regularly volunteers in his community.
  • Peter Legge (Coquitlam, BC/UK) is chairman and CEO of Canada Wide Media, a motivational speaker, author, philanthropist and face of the Variety Club Telethon.
  • Tonny Louie (Toronto, ON/Hong Kong) is chair of Toronto Chinatown Business Improvement Area board. He also started the Toronto China Street Festival.
  • Ahmed Mustaq (Toronto, ON/Bangladesh) is a financial executive who wrote a guide for newcomers.
  • Dr. Rey Pagtakhan (Winnipeg, MB/Philippines) is a physician, professor and politician.
  • Dr. Vivian Rambihar (Toronto, ON/Guyana) is an internationally respected cardiologist and a pioneer in studying ethnicity-related heart disease.
  • Zubeida Ramji (Toronto, ON/Tanzania) is the founder of CARE Centre for Internationally Educated Nurses.
  • Satish Thakkar (Brampton, ON/India) is president of Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
  • Bing Thom (Vancouver, BC/Hong Kong) is an internationally renowned architect.
  • Ai Thien Tran (Gatineau, QC/Vietnam) is a social worker and executive of the Vietnamese Canadian Federation.
  • Madhu Verma (Fredericton, NB/India) is a multicultural community leader.
  • Keinan ''K'naan'' Abdi Warsame (Toronto, ON/Somalia) is the popular hip-hop artist of "Wavin' Flag" fame.
  • Tonya-Lee Williams (Toronto, ON and Los Angeles, USA/UK) is an Emmy-nominated actor known for her role on the Young and the Restless, and is founder of the Reel World Film Festival.
  • Nancy Zein (Edmonton, AB/Jordan) is executive director of the Canada Arab Friendship Association.

About Canadian Immigrant and canadianimmigrant.ca
Attracting more than 287,000 readers each month, Canadian Immigrant is distributed in Toronto and Vancouver and helps new Canadians build a successful life and home during their first years in Canada. Its mandate to inform, educate and motivate provides easy-to-access content for newcomers looking for information, from careers, education and settling in to culture, money and business. Our website, www.canadianimmigrant.ca, offers daily editorial, forums, tools, resources and more to help newcomers across Canada. Canadian Immigrant is a division of Star Media Group, which is broadly based with interests in print and digital media, led by its flagship property, the Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, which is read in print and online by 3.1 million readers every week.

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, and are among the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 74,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 51 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.

For more information, contact:

Canadian Immigrant
Sanjay Agnihotri, 416-933-3411, sagnihotri@starmediagroup.ca

RBC
Jill Quinn, 416-313-8121, jill.quinn@rbc.com

Dyversity Communications
Irene Tang, 905-907-6911, irene.tang@dyversity.com