101 episodes

The Immigrants of Toronto podcast is a place to listen to stories of immigration from people who, at any point in time, decided to call Toronto their home.

You will find stories from people that just arrived, or also from others who have been living here most of their lives. But all these people share something in common, they were born somewhere else in the world, and now live in Toronto.

So if you're curious to listen to what the life of an immigrant is, you're in the right place.

Learn more about the project at immigrantsoftoronto.com

Immigrants of Toronto Oscar Cecena

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 20 Ratings

The Immigrants of Toronto podcast is a place to listen to stories of immigration from people who, at any point in time, decided to call Toronto their home.

You will find stories from people that just arrived, or also from others who have been living here most of their lives. But all these people share something in common, they were born somewhere else in the world, and now live in Toronto.

So if you're curious to listen to what the life of an immigrant is, you're in the right place.

Learn more about the project at immigrantsoftoronto.com

    The last episode

    The last episode

    Hello everybody! It has been a while since the last time I released an episode. So to be clear from the start, this episode is the last one I’m launching, at least for a while.



    I launched the first episode in August of 2019. But I started working on it earlier that year, which means that I’ve been technically working on it for three years.



    It’s not easy to make the decision to put the podcast on hiatus because it’s an essential part of my identity. But at this point in my life, I need to prioritize and let go of things that are not the top priority.



    We all have been hurt by the covid pandemic, from not being able to go out and meet our friends to losing our loved ones. Unfortunately, I suffered both scenarios and still did my best to push forward.



    It has been over a year since my father-in-law passed. 2021 was a challenging year, and doing the podcast every week helped me distract from my day-to-day life. Then during the summer, I left a job that saw me grow for six and a half years to join LinkedIn, which, funny enough, it’s the only social media platform I check religiously.



    We all know that the first six months in a job are stressful; it’s when you’re learning and making mistakes. Unlearning things that worked in the past and learning new ones. But still, I kept the podcast going. Sometimes I didn’t have time after work, so I dedicated my weekends to prepare everything.



    And then I took a trip to Mexico over the holidays, and that’s when everything hit me. I realized that I’ve been so busy doing so many things in my spare time that I had neglected what matters the most to me, my family.



    When I came back to Toronto, I wondered what to do with the podcast, and, in the end, I decided to put it on hold. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be restarting it again, and I want to apologize to all the people who gave me time to tell their stories and never saw the light.



    I’m happy to say that I’m closing this part of my life with over 100 episodes that have been downloaded over 50,000 times in 132 countries.



    When I started this project, my goal was to reach at least 30 people per month. In the last few months, when I released new content, the average was over 3,000 downloads, a hundred times more than what I expected.



    I’m saving the best for the end. I always say that I’m just the guy who says hello and asks questions, and I believe that. The stories come from all my guests, all the people who took the time to talk to me and share a vital part of their lives.



    This project is for you. You are the ones who made this happen. So thank you!



    I’m not sure if or when I’ll come back, but in the meantime, you can always listen to other excellent podcasts that showcase stories about immigrants. You have the New to Canada podcast with my friend Kate and also The Immigrant View with Ayo. Each one has a different approach to telling the stories, but both of them do it from the heart.



    I have nothing else to say but goodbye and thank you for listening. I’m Oscar Cecena, and this was the last episode of Immigrants of Toronto.







    Subscribe to the Podcast



    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don't forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.



    Lastly, if you're an immigrant and want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form.



    Thanks for listening, I'm Oscar Cecena, and this is Immigrants of Toronto.

    • 4 min
    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #1 – Things were getting too good: Pragya Diwan (India)

    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #1 – Things were getting too good: Pragya Diwan (India)

    This episode was originally broadcast on September 14, 2021.



    Pragya Diwan moved to Canada from India to pursue her career. As she says, things were just too good, so she looked for a change.



    In this episode, she talks about her journey as an immigrant in the media field. And how her decisions helped her to host a radio show and, later, create her own initiative called The Student Ally.



    Subscribe to the Podcast



    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.



    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.



    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena, and this is Immigrants of Toronto.



    Learn more about Pragya Diwan



    Pragya Diwan



    My name is Pragya Diwan.  I’m a journalist from India with a penchant for telling stories. My quest with journalism allowed me to work in different roles like a TV presenter, content creator, radio host and video producer. 



    After working for five years in the mainstream media, juggling between deadlines, covering breaking news and searching stories, I decided to take a break. I thought I needed to brush up on my writing skills, and I made an impromptu decision of travelling to Canada for a writing course. In just three months, I was in Canada as an international student, which changed my life.



    Just after being in Toronto for three months, I got my first job as a radio host in CIRV 88.9 FM in Brampton, where I hosted Bollywood music morning shows from Monday to Friday. Apart from the radio announcing, I do some freelance stuff like voiceovers, social media management, video creation, shoot and edit etc. I also run my own brand called The Student Ally, through which I help international students who come to Canada. 







    Get in touch with Pragya



    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/pragya-diwan-1898045b/Instagram: @diwanpragyaFacebook: facebook.com/pragya.diwan.9

    • 26 min
    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #2 – Escaping your country: Karla Medina (Venezuela)

    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #2 – Escaping your country: Karla Medina (Venezuela)

    This episode was originally broadcast on August 10, 2021.



    Karla Medina moved to Canada from Venezuela worried about her life. She didn't know when she arrived that she had a case to apply as a refugee.



    She talks about resources that people in her situation should know and use. And also how, after everything she went through, she was able to get a job that she loves.



    Subscribe to the Podcast



    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.



    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.



    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena, and this is Immigrants of Toronto.



    Learn more about Karla Medina



    Karla Medina



    I am a Venezuelan journalist that immigrated to Canada 8 years ago when people from the Venezuelan government threatened my life. Being a crime news reporter in Venezuela is probably one of the most dangerous jobs.



    In Canada, I had two beautiful daughters. They are now four and five years old, went back to school, graduated with a high GPA, and changed the path of my life from chaos to success.







    Get in touch with Karla



    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/karlamedina07/Instagram: @karla_mdinaFacebook: facebook.com/Karlitabella07



    Other resources mentioned



    Woodgreen Community Services: woodgreen.org

    • 26 min
    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #3 – Getting to know Canada: Gunjan & Farhan Kafil (India/Dubai)

    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #3 – Getting to know Canada: Gunjan & Farhan Kafil (India/Dubai)

    This episode was originally broadcast on May 18, 2021.



    In this episode, I chat with Gunjan and Farhan Kafil. Originally from India, they met in Dubai and decided to move to Canada. But before establishing in Toronto, they took a fantastic road trip across the country. Today, they share with us their journey of immigration.



    Subscribe to the Podcast



    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.



    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and you want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.



    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena and this is Immigrants of Toronto.



    Learn more about Gunjan and Farhan Kafil



    Gunjan & Farhan Kafil



    Gunjan and Farhan are curious explorers, outdoors enthusiasts and spirited overlanders. She is a communications pro and he is a contracts manager.



    Gunjan grew up in Mumbai and spent summer holidays in a small Himalayan town where hikes with cousins cultivated a love for the mountains. Since then, she has climbed two of the “Seven Summits” and mountains in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.



    Farhan is a small-town boy excited by this extraordinary world. He likes to tinker with ideas, plan the next adventure or simply, lace up and run. He is a marathoner, hiker and co-founder of an off-road adventure club.



    They met on a road trip in Dubai and, the rest is history – or rather, geography. Together, they climbed mountains, descended into the Grand Canyon, walked on icefields and to the rims of active volcanoes, slept by glaciers and witnessed the aurora borealis. Several adventures later, they moved to Canada in 2019.



    As new Canadians, they spent five months RVing in the great outdoors of North America – a journey of 22,000 kms from Toronto to Tuktoyatuk in NWT, Alaska and mainland USA. Together, they explored the country, its culture and communities to learn first-hand what it means to be a Canadian.







    Get in touch with Gunjan & Farhan



    Traveling



    Website: wonderlost.meInstagram: @wonderlost.meFacebook: facebook.com/wonderlost.me/



    Gunjan Kafil



    Website: gunjankafil.comLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/gunjankafil/Instagram: @gunjankafil



    Farhan Kafil



    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/farhankafil/

    • 34 min
    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #4 – The struggle of immigration: Mariela Gutierrez (Mexico & USA)

    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #4 – The struggle of immigration: Mariela Gutierrez (Mexico & USA)

    This episode was originally broadcast on September 21, 2021.



    Mariela Gutierrez was born in Mexico but moved to the USA at a very young age. Later in her life, she decided to move to Toronto.



    She talks about the struggles of the immigrant journey as she saw it from her parents, moving to the United States from Mexico. The challenge of starting a new life in a different country to provide a better life for her family.



    Subscribe to the Podcast



    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.



    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form.



    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena, and this is Immigrants of Toronto.



    Learn more about Mariela Gutierrez



    Mariela Gutierrez



    Mariela Gutierrez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and moved to the US with her parents in 1990. She arrived in the US undocumented; she and her family settled in Los Angeles.



    Mariela attended LA public schools and went on to earn Bachelor’s degrees in Anthropology and Chicanx Latinx Studies from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). She also obtained a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Analysis of Education at CSULB and worked in Student Affairs for five years.



    In 2020, after living in the US for three decades without any permanent legal status, she immigrated to Canada and now lives in Toronto.



    She recently completed her first year of law school at York University's Osgoode Hall. She is active on Instagram sharing her journey in Canada and law school.







    Get in touch with Mariela



    LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/gutierrezmariela/Instagram: @dacamerican

    • 27 min
    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #5 – Helping minorities: Dean Lobo (India)

    [Rebroadcast] Top 10 of 2021: #5 – Helping minorities: Dean Lobo (India)

    This episode was originally broadcast on July 20, 2021.



    Dean Lobo moved from India to Toronto in 2018. He took a bridging program that helped him adapt and find a job in his field.



    He talks about the microaggressions that sometimes we, as immigrants, face and how was able to get a job at a non-profit that helps minorities.



    Listen to episode 59 as well if you want to hear more about microaggressions.



    Subscribe to the Podcast



    If you enjoyed listening to this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts. And make sure to follow the show on Instagram and LinkedIn.



    Lastly, if you’re an immigrant and want to share your story on the show, go to immigrantsoftoronto.com/join and fill out the form. I’ll be in touch shortly after receiving your submission.



    Thanks for listening, I’m Oscar Cecena, and this is Immigrants of Toronto.



    Learn more about Dean Lobo



    Dean Lobo



    Dean Lobo (he/him) is an experienced Communications and Public Relations professional based in Toronto, Canada. Prior to immigrating to Canada in 2018, he worked across various media including radio, television, and print and digital news in India, his country of origin.



    Dean currently works as a Communications Specialist at The 519, Canada's most prominent LGBTQ2S community organization and service provider. He is passionate about elevating the voices of minority and marginalized communities through his work, something he gets to do extensively through advocacy and fundraising communications in his current role.



    Dean is also an accomplished pianist and a self-taught watercolour artist. In his spare time, he enjoys exploring Canada's many nature trails and small towns, driving through the countryside, urban sketching, creating music covers and cooking.







    Get in touch with Dean



    Website: deanlobo2.wixsite.com/portfolioLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/deanlobo/Facebook: facebook.com/deanpianistInstagram: @deanpianist

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

TheNewcomerCollective ,

A place for true and honest inspiration

Oscar has created such a safe and magical place for immigrants to share their inspiring stories. It is clear that we are all in this together, that we can achieve so much, and that we can learn a lot from each other. Keep up the great work!

Ehgirl79 ,

Story of unsung heroes of their own lives

I don’t do podcast (I just don’t do) but I quite enjoy this podcast because of the genuine storytelling. You can tell both Oscar, the interviewer and guests are real people and you can relate to their stories as an “ordinary person”. In many cases, social media tends to highlight people with “extraordinary job titles/accomplishments; however, this podcast focuses on those unsung heroes of their own lives, who have taken the roadless traveled. You can only imagine what it takes to be an immigrant/newcomer — I deeply appreciate their stories which truly make me feel humble and empowered, because I believe that those ordinary people are real change makers who shape the future of our community.

“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things” - Barack Obama

Marcela Chein ,

A relatable podcast to immigrants

I like listening to the stories of different immigrants and realize that all of us share similar experiences while trying to adapt to a new life.

You Might Also Like