10 success stories. Ontario beyond Toronto

Interviews with 10 Brazilians who live in the province of Ontario, but outside Toronto. This series of podcasts focuses on personal experiences and perspectives, showing the strengths and advantages of each location in terms of opportunities, employment, quality, and cost of living.

Christian Pedersen and Ana Carolina Botelho, producers of the Ontario podcast series Ontario is not just Toronto, from Brazilian Wave.

Audio in Portuguese. Read the English transcript below.

10 success stories. Ontario beyond Toronto

With a series of 10 podcasts “Ontario beyond Toronto”, we interviewed Brazilians who decided to leave Toronto to live and gain new life experiences in other Ontario cities. We explore stories from various locations in the province. The focus is on personal experiences and perspectives, showing the strengths and advantages of each location in terms of opportunities, employment, quality, and cost of living.

Episode #0: Podcast presentation
Transcripts (Automatic English translation – unedited)

Christian: Hello, I am Christian Pedersen. Welcome to our episode number zero of Ontario beyond Toronto.

Ana: Hello, I am Ana Carolina Botelho. I am speaking here from Belo Horizonte and I am currently in the company of three nice and dear little bitches who are accompanying me in these times of pandemic here in Brazil.

Christian: That’s right. It is this pandemic period where everything is normal and everything is different at the same time. You with the puppies over there and me here in Toronto at home, hoping the neighbours don’t make noise or anything from the street.

Ana: Fine. What a pleasure! What about our podcast ideas then, Christian?

Christian: First I will explain what a podcast is. A podcast is like a radio show… but it is not. Instead of having a certain amount of time to be on the air, you get it when and how you want it. Instead of tuning in to a radio station, you find it on the Internet and in most cases free of charge. You can listen to a podcast on a website, on a music platform, or even in a podcast application on your mobile. So you listen in traffic, on the bus, at home. You can also download the episode to your mobile phone or computer and listen to it or record it for yourself if you wish. In the case of Brazilian Wave, we have the series Como é no Canadá which is about how things work here in Canada. We also have the Wave on the Go series with interviews with artists, musicians, actors, personalities and anything else that is interesting. And now, this new series that is Ontario, is not just Toronto. In fact, you can listen to our podcast on different platforms and also on the Wave website: WWW.brazilianwave.org. And in our case, because we’re from Brazilian Wave, our podcast, this series, is about the province of Ontario, where the magazine is located and where most of the team lives. The idea is to talk about cities in the province that are not Toronto. Toronto is the capital of Ontario and people generally immigrate here or come here to study, thinking about big cities. Like Toronto in Ontario, there is Montreal in Quebec, Vancouver in British Columbia… so we thought it would be interesting to show cities in the interior of Ontario, which can be good options for immigrating, studying and having a new life.

Ana: When I went to Canada it was very interesting, it was a quick trip. But when I came back, several Brazilian friends, or friends of friends, asked me what it was like in Toronto, what I had experienced in other parts of Canada. So it was a series that I found very enjoyable to develop and very stimulating. Because not only did I learn from interviews, from conversations with people who have been living in Canada for so many years, but I was also able to give back to the Brazilians, to the acquaintances who ask me, because I work with the Brazilian Wave team, what it’s like to live in Canada. So I sincerely hope that this commitment, this pleasure of developing the series, will be able to transmit to our viewers, to our readers of the portal and to those who listen to the podcasts, the richness that we wanted to present here in the themes, in the types of interviewees, in the professions… with young people, with the elderly… in the north of the province of Ontario or closer to Toronto. So I honestly make this opening with great affection. We offer a quality product both in Canada and in Brazil. And for others, to access our interviews and chats.

Christian: For sure! Because the important thing is to show that there is life outside Toronto. Toronto, of course, is a big city, a lively, dynamic and full of things. But inside, there are also opportunities that you can have. Sometimes you can be even more successful there than in Toronto, for example. The quality of life is more relaxed, there are more job opportunities, and even in the health sector, it is perhaps less sought-after than in the big city. So by talking to these Brazilians, you can understand a little bit what it’s like to live in cities other than Toronto.

Ana: Even because, in the series, we understand that the reality of Canada is very different from that of Brazil. When we talk about a city with fewer inhabitants, in Brazil we think of a situation of fewer opportunities. But in Canada, services, jobs and economic dynamism are reflected in the different city models. And a very good thing too….. for example, I stay in kanata, in the suburbs of Ottawa. When I went to look for information in the city, it was very standardised, very repetitive information, which sometimes I questioned, I even thought it was superficial because it was so repetitive and trivialised, that I wondered: “Does anyone who lives in Kanata see the city that way? So this view of experiences, where you bring the city from the experience of a resident, of someone who’s been living there for a while, that’s what I find very cool. And it’s something we don’t easily find on the internet, for example.

Christian: Especially when the experience comes from another Brazilian. Because there’s a little bond between everyone, isn’t there? We have things in common. Even for me, who has been here for almost 20 years, it has been interesting to hear stories and experiences of cities, other visions. Very enriching, even.

Ana: Exactly. There are people who came when migration was not a strong movement in the world, and even less so in the relations between Brazil and Canada. And there are people who came more recently, with strategies to study and ended up staying… or others who have already planned to come from Brazil, to arrive with something more established. So the approach is very cool because it has a geographical problem first of all: Ontario is not just Toronto. Attention Brazilians, attention world… goes far beyond Toronto. But for me, who knows little or nothing, what does that mean? I have a family… a school and is it worth it? Is transportation easy, is it expensive? Winter? so there are a lot of subjective questions that we read about in many places, but they come in this pattern: the climate, the cost of living, how much rent is charged? and it’s not exactly the story of an experience. And that’s, I think, the differential of these podcasts. Because it’s not this institutionality, for example, of the Canadian migration centre, the agencies that support migration. They are experiences of Brazilians who may even become future contacts, and quotes from associations of groups of Brazilians that suggest, within the same culture, what it is like to live in Canada: a Canada that is not just Toronto.

Christian: And each experience is also relative. It doesn’t mean that one’s experience will be the same for someone else. A person may not have had the same good experience in these places. The real intention is to show that you can really have a good life, that you can have an interesting experience, that you have a way, that you have a north maybe.

Ana: About a month ago, someone came to me about Watsapp, knowing about this work from the magazine, and asked me: “But, is it going to be released as a video or a podcast? I said, “We’re going to podcast it because it’s lighter.” In Brazil, we have a connection situation, internet quality: depending on the environment you are in, you have more or less access to the signal. So I thought it was cool because I was a young man of about 26 years old and he said: “I think it’s great because while I’m in the metro I can listen to your series. And I thought it was funny because he was the one who took the initiative to come and ask me, and he showed this adequacy of the media format. And I think that’s good, we come from a time when radio was also very important. So the vivacity of the voice is very different from the vivacity of the image of the voice. So, the experiences I don’t know if you have had the same perception as me; but you feel the emotion of the person! You don’t see the emotion. We feel the emotion of the person when they tell us the best moments of accomplishment or even the difficulties of the whole process they had to go through to get there…because Christian, look, I was thinking here…inside these 10 people we interviewed, maybe even a series that could be extended. We took the field of the arts, for example: we interviewed a music professional, who also works in the education of children in music, and we interviewed a professional who has already written two books. We also work in the field of business, for example: many entrepreneurs who came and fought hard and are now satisfied and proud of their achievements.

Christian: There are people who have just arrived, who are two years away, who are still working, who get jobs in the shops, who are studying, who are studying to go to another place.

Ana: Exactly. Which is at a very early stage. I thought it was very interesting that we took the spiritual, the religious world. We were able to interview a person who spoke, from his perception, about his entire trajectory, decades, in Canada. But with a vision: one that integrates professional achievement with the spiritual side, within another culture, another universe. So, I sincerely hope, ok? I leave my message here: that our effort as a team, our quality of work is reflected and can contribute to you who want to leave (Brazil) or who is in Canada and also, for those who even without this will, will be distracted – because these are very rich life experiences. I think it’s not only about the Brazil-Canada universe, but also about the people, the paths of the people, the life stories.

Christian: Yes. Because the stories are also for other places. The person who goes to other provinces in Canada, to other countries, can also have the same kind of… because in fact, I think the impression I’ve had of everything is that immigration is very similar even! There can be many different reasons, but in the end, these experiences have a lot in common. These things have in common to help those who immigrate to another place, like this: “oh, suddenly I’m going to have to go through this, I’m going to have to feel this feeling, this experience…”. because it’s going to be more or less like that”.

Ana: Exactly! For example, some of our interviewees commented on the 1980s, which were very difficult in Brazil, economically speaking and as an opportunity. On the other hand, there is a younger class that is experiencing the difficulties and will also experience them a little bit forward, accentuated by the pandemic. What will be the decisions of those who are considering coming to Canada? Will they take advantage of a new moment of openness from the Canadian government, or will they wait for the consolidation of a vaccine, situations like this? So, experiences at different ages, at different times, in different geographies and localities, they talk about us, don’t they? Basically, each of them has a connection to situations of great change. Migration is a situation of great change, of great decisions.

Christian: Is almost a rebirth, in many ways. So I think the series has this interesting thing, which is to show how people have been reborn or have moved on to another stage of their lives. How they lived it, how they coped and how is their life in these places… which in most cases was not their choice… the life that led them to stay in these places.

Ana: And with many examples of trajectories, right? For example, the person would arrive in different places: first living in one place, then going to another, for the possibility of learning English, the possibility of working, or the need for a job. So the opportunities – and we had even commented on this, hadn’t we, Christian? You and I, in another one of our meetings, so people really exalt this need for perseverance. Perseverance in dreams, perseverance in transformations. Because it’s not easy, but there are many good things. So, I think that experience brings these indicators, a bit of the person’s journey: how did they do it? And there remains the challenge of language: how did each person overcome their language? Did you get there by knowing how to speak English or did you have to learn it? And do you know how to speak English today or not yet? Many stories confirm this.

Christian: Speaking of places, let’s comment a little on one of the cities we have got to know better. For example, we have St. Catharines, which is a city in the Niagara region.

Ana: It’s a good-sized city, with a strong investment in tourism, and it attracts people. Because you know it’s a differentiation of the present and the future, you work with people from different places and with a skilled labour force in the necessary activities. I found the interview with Welland very interesting … and then we also received the words of the mayor, which situate the city and place the intentions and the development horizon of the city. What I found was very good. Because it is a very professional posture of management, of attraction and to say: “Look at this one and this is what we have to offer. But we also have requirements for the type of development we want”.

Christian: We’ve also been through Sudburry, Kanata in the Ottawa area, also Timmins, which is in Northern Ontario and a few others, right Ana?

Ana: And to be with us. The Wave team works hard to provide information, not only from podcasts, but also other types of information.

Christian: We invite you to follow us on social networks. We are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Podcast: Ontario Beyond Toronto

This series of podcasts – Ontario is not just Toronto – aims to inform, guide, and facilitate the assimilation of Brazilians in Ontario, Canada, presenting different cities in the province, as a great destination to live, work, visit or study. The audio/podcast interviews are in Portuguese. Transcripts and translations in English and French are also available.

  • Direction and interviews: Christian Pedersen
  • Production: Christian Pedersen e Ana Carolina Botelho
  • Vignettes: Robson DJ Estudio – Participações de Robson DJ and Eric Major
  • Coordenação: Teresa Botelho
  • Website & Digital Marketing: Creative Team Canada
  • Project Management: Teresa Botelho e Regina Filippov

A realization of BRZ Group Inc., Canada


The views expressed in this podcast are the views of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.

Wave Podcast Series: Ontario Beyond Toronto
Made possible with the support of Ontario Creates