Friday, March 14, 2014

Community News

The Immigrant Experience

A microcosmic look at life as a new Canadian in Chilliwack

Released by Brunella Battista, photos


A collage of faces from a video shown at Chilliwack Community Services' Immigrant Symposium Wednesday at Squiala Hall. Below, April Neave (C) chats with director James Challman at CCS's Sushi Roll-off.


hilliwack is a vibrant community that in recent years has seen an increasing influx of immigrants from all over the world.

It is easy to see why so many would choose to make this place home: affordable housing, beautiful scenery and, now more than ever, the ease of commuting to Vancouver, all make our city a sought after location.


The Welcoming Communities Program has made a difference in the lives of many immigrants in Chilliwack since its inception by the Province of BC and the Canadian Government, Welcome BC, and Chilliwack Community Services.


Their Immigrant Symposium on March 12th, saw the Squiala Hall become a hub of Services, support, and networking for immigrants and community-minded individuals alike.

One of the many highlights of the day, which started with a traditional Stó:lo Welcome, was the video presentation by dB digital TV, “Chilliwack: a Welcoming Community”, filmed and edited by Brunella Battista.

An immigrant herself, originally from southern Italy, Battista has also made her home in Chilliwack after spending time in Toronto and Vancouver.

The self-made entrepreneur has thrived through her newfound culture and technology. Canada has proven a country of great opportunities for Battista; from becoming a member of the Actors’ Union (and starring in iconic Canadian TV shows like “Polka Dot Shorts”); to producing videos for renowned groups such as The Vancouver Men’s Chorus (VMC) and Les Clefs D’Or,


Whether filming while leaning out of a helicopter, or recording sound in her Sardis Studio, Battista would not want to call any other place "home".

Even though, like many immigrants, she has experienced difficult circumstances, including violence and loss, and has had to face subtle racism and sexism, it has always been through the support of her Canadian friends and community ties that she has found renewed strength and the resolve to move forward.

Chilliwack has gained a place in Brunella’s heart with its diversity of people and places; including farmer’s markets, stunning lakes and mountain trails, and an exciting artistic community that has embraced her with open arms.

Bringing her afterschool programs to the Chilliwack Cultural Centre and taking up the vice-presidency at the Chilliwack Visual Artists Association, Brunella has many opportunities to bask in the city’s cultural activities. Her commitment to the Canadian Marine Protection Society, and her new involvement in the Rotary Club, position her as a valued community participant in our beautiful city, while demonstrating how beneficial successful integration can be for both communities and immigrants.


Through the continuation of comprehensive partnerships such as the one created by the Welcoming Communities Program, hopefully many other talented immigrants will feel at home here in Chilliwack.

About dB digital TV

For more information about this or to contact dB digital TV about coverage of your event email here, call

(604) 846-7088.


Watch video here connect on Facebook here

@dbdigitaltv on Twitter and LinkedIn here.

For info about the Welcoming Communities Program contact April Neave or Melissa Warren at Chilliwack Community Services (604) 393 3251.






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