Ed Maruyama: From Brazil To Nunavut

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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. I’m not afraid to accept that I think this story is the most interesting so far.

    A Brazilian in Nunavut?? C’mon!!! What a great interview, and what an interesting life this gentleman must have.

    I envy him very much, though; I’m dying to travel up North one day! 🙂
    .-= Gabriel´s last blog ..A little shameless self-promotion =-.

  2. I so admire Ed Maruyama – Nunavut is a beautiful place but I just couldn’t live in “the land of the midnight sun.” I need my natural source of Vitamin D and sunshine!
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Wise Words? =-.

  3. This is very interesting. I looked at Ed’s pictures in Flickr and agree that he is a good photographer. I am pleased to see that he is comfortable merging himself into another culture. Canada in general might not be a great stretch for him but the Inuit surely is quite different. They live and thrive in an environment most of us would find very hostile. If he is doing a blog I would like to see it. If he is not perhaps you could encourage him to do so. This is cool beans Zhu. Keep it up.
    .-= Tulsa Gentleman´s last blog ..Sunday Jigsaw Puzzle =-.

  4. “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.”

    -Sounds like a great guy! I love his optimism, haha. When I had to live for a year in Tokyo, there was a point where I was so terribly homesick and hated being there. I think it’s great how he manages to keep such a positive attitude.
    .-= Lizz´s last blog ..Valentine’s Day Treasures: Third Collection for Ukay Manila V-DAY PROMO! =-.

  5. Salut Zhu,

    Excellent idea to interview 10 immigrants and to hear their points of view.
    Salut à Ed ! I’ll speak in English for clarity for everyone… Awesome, you are in Nunavut ! That is very different and I salute your courage .
    I’m also an expat ( US citizen in France) and I agree with what you said :

    ” I find it really sad to see people pretending to be in their own countries, forgetting they have moved to a new place…
    Exactly. Or what’s the use of living overseas ??
    GORGEOUS pics !!! 🙂

    Wishing you all the best !

  6. @micki – I wish I could do it in person, but Canada is a big country… so just by email for now.

    @Gabriel – I really want to travel up North too someday, I just wish it wasn’t so expensive. Brazilian in Nunavut… really can’t beat this culture shock!

    @Sidney – I like his art too.

    @OliviaLee – More will come!

    @Beth – I’m the same. And I think 24 daylight is even more weird… I experienced that in Southern Patagonia and it felt strange.

    @Agnes – Thank you! I learn a lot from them too.

    @Tulsa Gentleman – The Inuit culture is so different and so fascinating, I can understand why he ended up staying up North. But the environment is so harsh… not sure I could.

    @Lizz – I had this feeling to talking to him. He has a great sense of humor and an open mind!

    @barbara – I agree with both of you. Living in a foreign country to me is the chance to discover another culture and adopt it… being a kid and grow up again!

  7. Hey Zhu,

    I absolutely loved this interview! Like the Argentinians (you interviewed) Ed was also organised enough to make his coming to Canada a pleasant one (within all the difficulties he must have experienced, which is normal in any immigration process). I loved the positive tone of this interview, I really did.

    I enjoy following this series because it offers a different perspective on immigration (as you know, this issue is sensitive here in Europe, since our immigrants are not quite as prepared as the ones you introduce us to here).

    .-= Max Coutinho´s last blog ..Inside a Woman’s head on Valentine’s Day =-.

  8. salut à tous et toutes! ça va bien? hey folks! how’s it going?

    Zhu, thanks for the opportunity of sharing a bit of my life in the north…

    Yep, it ain’t for everyone… but I love it up here! even if it’s -37C like this morning, but there’s always a bright side… SUNNY! and no wind! 🙂

    (or for those who ain’t that positive… it could be worse as the forecast for tomorrow is -51C windchill, hehehehe :))))

    Anyways… for those who wanna drop me a few lines, I’ll be more than glad to share a few thoughts… emaruyamaATyahooDOTcom

    à bientôt! later!
    .-= Ed Maruyama´s last blog ..Mr. Mark & bucket drums =-.

  9. Hello Zhu,

    I came across your site when i was searching for blogs on Canadian Immigrants. I must admit that this is by far the best blog I’ve come across in this topic and Congrats to you for creating such a wonderful site. I’m an aspiring immigrant to Canada and we are in the last stages of the immigration process now. Very excited to land in Canada already :). Thanks for providing some wonderful info out here, i specially liked this particular interview because this is from an immigrant living in Nunavut.

    I just started blogging and believe me your blog is the inspiration behind it.


    Indira Prabhakaran.

    • Hello Indira,

      Thank you for your kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed the blog and I hope it can gives you helpful tips 🙂

      Immigrating is quite an adventure but it’s a fun one!

      So, ideally, where would you like to live in Canada? Nunavut? 😉

        • It’s probably a smart decision. Toronto is a great place to ease into Canadian culture and to get to know the country a little bit. You can always travel anywhere once you’re settled in.

  10. 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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