Ed Maruyama: From Brazil To Nunavut


Wel­come to my new series, Ten Immi­grants, Ten Inter­views.

You guys all know my story by now, and you have a pretty good idea of what my life in Canada looks like. I thought it was time to let other immi­grants and new Cana­di­ans speak. I con­tacted ten of them, who each have their own story, their own rea­sons to come to Canada, their own point of view on how life is up North in the igloos. They all answered ten ques­tions, bring­ing a new per­spec­tive on immigration.

A new post will be pub­lished every Saturday.

Ed Maruyama

I was brows­ing Flickr one night when I found this beau­ti­ful pic­ture, named “Dogsled­ding over frozen Fro­bisher Bay”. I have always been curi­ous about Canada’s Great North, so I opened the full pic­ture set and found a few other gems, such as Arc­tic Char, and Seal Cel­e­bra­tion.

I had to find out who was behind these pic­tures: I con­tacted the author. His pro­file had one line: “Brazil­ian guy liv­ing in Iqaluit”. Now, I was super curi­ous. I mean, Canada is well-known to be a cold place, but from Brazil to the actual Great White North? That’s one hell of a cul­ture shock!

Ed replied to me right away… he even wrote in French! Turned out he was actu­ally from São Paulo and had been liv­ing in Nunavut, Canada’s Arc­tic ter­ri­tory, for seven years. He is not a full-time pho­tog­ra­pher yet but does doc­u­ment Canada’s harsh­est envi­ron­ment very well. And as you can see from the inter­view, there are other options than Toronto to set­tle in Canada!

What brought you to Canada?

I came to Canada sev­eral years ago, for a visit, so spent a few weeks dri­ving around, sight-seeing. It was really nice to see an inter­est­ing & beau­ti­ful coun­try with tons of peo­ple from all over the world.

We had a such great time, so decided to go back to Brazil, fin­ish uni­ver­sity, and then con­tinue study­ing a lit­tle bit further.

I did then a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions man­age­ment pro­gram in south­ern Ontario, but I tried to find a job in the GTA at no avail, so decided to give it a shot in the Great White North, just to check it out.

So far, it’s been almost seven years in Iqaluit. I love it up here! But I would say this is not for everyone…

Did you find the immi­gra­tion process dif­fi­cult?

The immi­gra­tion process was a lit­tle bit tricky because at first, I got this stu­dent visa through the pro­gram I was attend­ing, but then in order to grad­u­ate, I had to com­plete a few months of internship/work expe­ri­ence, which allowed me to get my I first work permit.

After that, I was able (barely) to con­tinue to have my work per­mit renewed/extended, until I’ve applied for the landed immi­grant status.

I believe this was only pos­si­ble because of the lack of skilled pro­fes­sion­als in the north. Hon­estly, in the “south” with all sorts of peo­ple look­ing for jobs, it wouldn’t have made any sense to have this kind of sta­tus granted to me.

How long did it take you to find a job that you liked in Canada?

Since I had to com­plete this intern­ship in the area/field of stud­ies, I was able to get a job within the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions field, as I ended up work­ing for an Inter­net Ser­vice Provider.

After work­ing for them for 3 years or so, I was able to meet lots of peo­ple, and (social) net­work­ing is essen­tial, espe­cially in a smaller com­mu­nity, so when the posi­tion with the City of Iqaluit became avail­able, I decided to apply for it, and now I’ve been work­ing as its net­work administrator.

I am also a pas­sion­ate pho­tog­ra­pher, so I have been think­ing of invest­ing more time into pho­tog­ra­phy. Please, feel free to see a few sam­ples of my work and a small idea of what’s going on in the north!

Where did you learn French/ Eng­lish? What was your sec­ond lan­guage level when you first came to Canada?

I’ve been study­ing Eng­lish since a small kid, as I was for­tu­nate enough to have par­ents who had this vision that Eng­lish is a world lan­guage. In high school, I had some french classes as well, and it’s been inter­est­ing to be involved with the fran­coph­one com­mu­nity in Nunavut, so I’ve been also prac­tic­ing my french skills.

I must con­fess I need to invest more time learn­ing Inuk­ti­tut though. I would say, prior to com­ing to Canada, I was quite flu­ent in Eng­lish, with enough french to keep up sim­ple con­ver­sa­tions. It is essen­tial that you speak & write the lan­guages of the coun­try you are mov­ing to; I find it really sad to see peo­ple pre­tend­ing to be in their own coun­tries, for­get­ting they have moved to a new place, with its own offi­cial lan­guages and cul­tures. I under­stand it is impor­tant to keep our roots alive, but I would say its way more impor­tant to adapt your­self to the cana­dian cul­ture, than have Canada to bend its knees for you.

What was your biggest cul­ture shock?

The Inuit cul­ture is amaz­ing. It’s awe­some to be in a harsh envi­ron­ment and yet, still be able to sur­vive and have lots of fun. The tun­dra is incred­i­bly beau­ti­ful, the north­ern lights pro­vide an exquis­ite eye candy.

What haven’t you got­ten used to yet in Canada?

I try to enjoy every sin­gle moment in my life to its fullest, so, can’t really say there is such a thing that really bugs me in Canada.

Did immi­grat­ing to Canada match your expectations?

I don’t think it’s fair to expect Canada to be par­adise, or hell… Any­where you go, you’ll find pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive things.

Do you find life expen­sive in Canada com­pared to your home country?

Very VERY expen­sive, but I live in Iqaluit, Nunavut. We are in another planet… I don’t find it fair to com­pare prices, because we make a liv­ing earn­ing Cana­dian dol­lars, spend­ing in Cana­dian dol­lars, so I don’t think it’s sim­ply a mat­ter of “buy­ing stuff” with a dif­fer­ent currency.

Are you plan­ning to apply for Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship when you will meet the requirements?

Yes, I’ll be apply­ing when I meet the require­ments, which will be prob­a­bly some­time next year.

What advice would you give to some­one inter­ested in immi­grat­ing to Canada?

Read, read and read lots about Canada, come up for a visit first, I know it’s not the same expe­ri­ence while you’re only vis­it­ing, things can be dif­fer­ent when you actu­ally live here, but all I can say is Canada is a great coun­try. Just don’t expect to be an easy ride and take every­thing for granted. You have to work up the lad­der, start crawl­ing prior to run­ning… Good luck!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Cesar Medeiros on

    Olá Ed,

    Meu nome é Cesar Medeiros,tenho 31 anos e moro em Belo Hor­i­zonte.
    Outro dia vi por várias vezes uma série de reporta­gens que a rede Record de tv fez aí no Canadá.Dois dos 5 capí­tu­los falavam de Nunavut e você apare­ceu na reportagem.
    Estou entrando em con­tato con­tigo pois estou MUITO interessado,na ver­dade deci­dido a ir para Nunavut.
    No Brasil já morei no Sul de onde sou natural,no Nordeste e no Sudeste.As difi­cul­dades climáti­cas do Canadá não seriam prob­lema pra mim.
    Sou casado e tenho uma filha de 3 anos.Não tenho for­mação acadêmica,sempre tra­bal­hei com vendas,tive uma empresa com mais de 100 fun­cionários e fechei.
    Agora estou dis­posto a ir pra Nunavut para tra­bal­har em qual­quer setor.
    Não tenho inglês fluente,mas sou artic­u­lado e con­sigo ter onver­sas sim­ples.
    Tenho um grande con­hec­i­mento na area de mus­cu­lação onde já fiz tra­bal­hos de per­sonal trainer e tam­bém pode­ria atuar por aí.
    Gostaria de saber se tenho alguma chance no mer­cado de tra­balho na sua região.
    Obri­gado pela disposição.


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