As told by

Our Storytellers

 from the Fifth Wave: Invisible Hoops (2010-2020)

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Afreina Noor

Before I arrived here, I didn't really know much. You speak to other immigrants and you hear about things like the 1995 referendum. I was unaware about any of the background which led to it. I got curious about Je me souviens on every single car plate.  What does this mean? 

Ellie Nash

Having a child and navigating the health system and the school system means I'm experiencing firsthand the residual effects Quebec’s tumultuous history. People ask me, 'Why are you speaking to your child in English when we're in a Francophone province?’

Jamil A.E. Elsoud

I am from the Middle East, the mother of all problems politically. I completely understand the feeling of being surrounded, or being a minority in North America. So I understand the urge to protect the language and protect the culture. 

Maranda Bell

What really actually has shocked me is discrimination in the workplace. I have unfortunately experienced it at every single company I've worked for here in Montreal. Being a woman, being gay, and being an Anglophone, I have been underpaid, underappreciated, overworked.

Seeley Quest

I don't think I had a serious grasp of how critical having French is to get employment. I met people in Toronto who said, 'We have friends who've been in Montreal 30 years. They've never learned French and they're doing okay' Yes, that is actually possible, but they're also Canadian. It's quite different if you're trying to immigrate.

Swati Khanna

I was a TV producer in India for 20 years and made some of the biggest reality shows in India. Here I'm working in a very good organization but if I ever wanted to go back to television, and the kind of work that I was doing in India, I would have to move to Toronto.

Quinten Sheriff

When I first arrived in Canada, I landed in Toronto and spent a few weeks there. I spoke to some immigration lawyers and they said, ‘You speak all three languages of the continent, why don't you go to Quebec? You'll have a chance to integrate and for sure they will take advantage of your French skills.

Alaa Shabana 

I did some of course research before I landed here in Montreal and I knew that language is really important here. So I studied some French but since my accent is different, they start speaking English with me. I didn't expect that. I thought people would be more patient and give you time to learn.
Olatunji Binitie

For me, obviously, racism is a big thing for me. I’ve been a victim of racism here in Quebec a few times. I'm grateful it's not as bad as we see sometimes in places like the United States, but coming from a country of 200 million black people I'm not used to that.

Now a feature length documentary

What We Choose To Remember

 See the film 

What We Choose to Remember features a cast of more than 30 characters, whose families arrived in successive waves of immigration. The oldest families arrived during the period of ‘two solitudes’ when Montreal’s population was more than 50% English. They share firsthand accounts decades of political upheaval. The most recent immigrants arrived believing linguistic conflicts were ancient history. 

Visit the website to watch the trailer and find tickets to our public screenings ︎ Visit the website to watch the trailer and find tickets to our public screenings ︎


Our story takes place on the Indigenous lands of the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Tiotià:ke (known as Montréal) has existed as a meeting place of many First Nation peoples, including but not limited to the Abenaki , Anishinaabeg (Algonquin), and the Huron-Wendat. We extend our deepest respect to the elders of these nations and to all Indigenous peoples who carry the history of this island’s land and waters. We also call upon all levels of government to adopt and implement the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation commission.

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