Wellington Welcomes

We asked members of newcomer and immigrant communities to share what it is like to live and work in Wellington County. Below are their stories.

We are grateful to our participants for welcoming us into their lives and sharing their stories with us. Read on to learn how these passionate individuals and families turned challenges into opportunities and now call Wellington County their home.

Woman posing in front of wall mural of japanese characted holding a plate of sushi
Man standing in front of wall tapestry holding tiling tool wearing backwards baseball cap
Man standing in front of a mustard yellow wall leaning his arms on the back of two chairs in front of a nicely set table in his restaurant
Woman in hijab seated on a brown patterned sofa holding a homemade chocolate bundt cake out for the camera
Chef smiling at the camera while carving meat from a vertical rotisserie
Woman posing with a handful of paintbrushes in front her painting of Sophia Lauren
Man and women seated together on loveseat
Man with long beard smiling while painting with a long paint roller
Woman in white lab coat smiling
Man standing in grocery store produce aisle next to mounds of brightly coloured fruits
Man standing in front of wall tapestry holding tiling tool wearing backwards baseball cap

Mina Kim

Mina Kim | Owner, Ikiru Sushi

My name is Mina Kim. I was born in South Korea and lived there until I graduated high school. I visited Canada to learn English and fell in love with the beautiful nature of the country, it is because of that I decided to make the move to Canada. I knew Canada would be a good fit – even if we do have -25°C winter weather.

I first settled in Toronto and worked at a coffee shop. It was a simple job, but even a routine conversation with customers was difficult. Now, I have made my home in Fergus within Wellington County, where I run my own restaurant of 12 years, Ikiru Sushi, alongside my husband.

“Fergus is a great place to enjoy the advantages of cities a short drive away, while experiencing the benefits of small-town life.”

I knew I would not be able to work long hours in the city with young children, so the small-town setting of Fergus seemed right for us. Today, my children have grown up and are students in high school and university. I am proud of what I have accomplished here. It was hard, but with help from the Wellington County community, I managed to successfully balance working and raising my children at the same time.

My favorite place in the County is along the riverside behind the Fergus Library. The Grand River is such a beautiful place with the many trails in Fergus and Elora. Walking on quiet trails with my dog Blu, surrounded by trees is magical, especially in the fall. I enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and quality of life that the community offers.

Fergus is a great place to enjoy the advantages of cities a short drive away, while experiencing the benefits of small-town life. As an immigrant, my time in this town has allowed me to learn and experience so many new things. I feel as though I have grown as a person because of this. 


Portrait of Mina Kim next to a world map showing her travel from South Korea to Fergus Ontario


Mitul Kumar Patel

Mitul Kumar Patel | Business Owner, Freshmart, Drayton

My name is Mitul Kumar Patel, fondly known by my employees and local community as Mit. Prior to moving to Drayton, I spent six years in Saskatchewan as an international student with one goal in mind: To call Canada my forever home.

Being an international student was not easy – it involved a lot of sacrifice, hard work, and tears; although my family gave constant support and encouragement throughout the years. My first job in Canada was as a kitchen aid in a Caribbean restaurant. It was tough work, full of new lessons, but through it all, my dream to make my parents proud allowed me to persevere.

“I encourage people to move to the County and to recognize that small towns offer more than one might think – Canada has lots to offer.”
Through a family member I was introduced to the concept of running grocery stores in small town Canada. The idea struck a chord and so I decided to give it a try along with my brother-in-law, who became my business partner in this venture. Today, I am no longer an International Student, but an immigrant entrepreneur of Freshmart in Drayton, Wellington County. I spend my days helping run and maintain the store while sharing my experiences and perspectives with locals and visitors alike. In return, they have taught me about their hometowns and what it takes to be a local in small town rural Canada.

I recently bought a home in Drayton for my young family. On the weekends, we visit the local farmers’ market and stop by the library and the recreation center, play cricket and visit friends and family. 


Portrait of Mitul Kumar Patel next to a world map showing her travel from India to Drayton Ontario


Mohammad Haque

Mohammad Haque | Owner, Fergus Tandoori Grill, Fergus

I am Mohammad, originally from Bangladesh. I came to Canada with a few hundred dollars, an education, and a dream for a better life for both myself and my familyI read about Canada, its democracy, how welcoming it is of immigrants and knew this country would become my home 

My Canadian journey started at a retail store. I always knew I wanted to serve South Asian cuisine to the community. This dream came true in 2006 when I found a business partner sharing my same passion and we started Fergus TandooriSince then, we have been serving authentic Indian and Bengali cuisine to customers from and around Fergus, Wellington County. 

“The small-town charm, beautiful trails, fresh air, open green spaces and especially the Grand River running through Fergus makes this a wonderful place to call home."

Starting a business is hard, but I pushed through to overcome the many difficulties I came to face. Slowly, I got to know my clients and they got to know me. Over the years, these relationships grew. Now people of Fergus know me and recognize me even when I am not at the restaurant. Our hard work is recognized and there is a sense of belonging. The people and the community are warm and friendly. Nothing gives me more joy than to share our love for our community through our cuisine.  

Last December, I moved to Fergus after years of being the proud restauranteur of the Fergus Tandoori Grill, which is a pioneer in Ethnic Indian restaurants in Wellington CountyA state-of-the-art hospital nearby gives me and my (now grown) children peace of mind, knowing healthcare assistance is right where we are. The small-town charm, beautiful trails, fresh air, open green spaces and especially the Grand River running through Fergus makes this a wonderful place to call home. 


Portrait of Mohammed Haque next to a world map showing her travel from Bangladesh to Fergus Ontario


Nidal Almohamad

Nidal Almohamad | Homemaker, Harriston

I am Nidal, a newcomer to Canada. I have called Harriston, Wellington County my home since moving to the country a year and a half ago when the local church sponsored my family from Syria. My brother-in-law, who lives close by, helped us find this wonderful house where I live with my husband and three children.

My husband is a ceramic tiler. He works at a local tiler’s business and finds great satisfaction in his duties there. He does not speak English, but this does not come in the way of friendships he has developed with his co-workers. They are very patient and understanding of him. His boss relies on Google to translate English to Arabic while giving him instructions on what needs to be done. This makes my husband feel included and he brings home lots of stories. I can sense this and I feel truly happy to have made the decision to move to Harriston, Wellington County.

While my husband is at work, I take online English classes. I recently completed my CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) level three and couldn’t be prouder of myself. The ESL teachers here are very kind and helpful. They allow me to take my time and meet me at my level on my language learning journey.

"The community in Harriston is very warm and welcoming. The hospital I visit has a friendly environment - they have Arabic translators which makes conversations easy."

I am a homemaker and a full-time caretaker of our youngest, special needs 14-year-old. Life can be hard, but that does not stop me from finding beauty in what it has to offer. My refrigerator always has dessert or pastries filled with pistachios, dates, and semolina cakes soaked in syrup, just like my home in Syria would. During my spare time, I visit with family, bake cakes, and make paper flowers and lamps. Doing these things makes me happy and makes the days much easier. 

Portrait of Nidal Almohamad next to a world map showing her travel from Syria to Harriston Ontario


Saurabh Bose

Saurabh Bose | Business Owner, Osmow’s Fergus

Hello everyone, my name is Saurabh, and I am the owner of Osmow’s in Fergus. I grew up in the Middle East in a country called Oman, where my dad was a school teacher at a school I attended. As I grew older, many people recommended that I study in Canada. I did just that, becoming an international student, and while it was extremely difficult studying business in a new country, I underwent many positive experiences and honed my English-speaking skills. I made many friends during my time at university, and I soon began calling Canada home.

After school, I was hired at a Subway owned by a friend. It was hard for me to learn this new role; however, I persevered and soon figured out how to complete my job responsibilities and handle food properly. Subway was my teacher in the restaurant industry, and it taught me how to manage and run my own business.
"Fergus and Wellington County is a great place to begin a business."
I made the move to the Wellington County area after buying Fergus Osmow’s. I was told about Osmow’s by a friend, and I recognized the business opportunities in a small-town. I wanted to begin working with food again, especially Mediterranean cuisine since it reminded me of home. At first, I was worried about how to manage everything, as this was a solo venture. However, I have had a great experience so far working in Fergus. All the customers are very friendly, welcoming, and always appreciative of me and my food. I also have had little trouble finding employees – I post the job on social media and ask my other employees to spread the work, and people get in touch with me.

The area around my business is peaceful but not boring – I have a membership to one of the local gyms where the vibe is always good. I also find the Grand River waterfront a very soothing place to be, especially when I am kayaking on the water. 

Portrait of Saurabh next to a world map showing his travel from Oman to Fergus Ontario


Indra Dosanjh

Indra Dosanjh | Artist, Fergus

My name is Indra, and my life has been a tapestry of resilience and adventure. I was raised in the country of Uganda. My family and I were forced to flee under an authoritarian regime, leaving everything we sought refuge in the United Kingdom, while my brothers found sanctuary in Canada.

During a visit to my brothers in Canada, I fell in love with the country. It was a twist of fate when my tech company in the UK referred me to their Toronto office, prompting me to make Canada my home at the age of 21.

"I stumbled upon Fergus and fell in love with the mix of urban amenities and the sense of
community provided by a small town."

I settled in Toronto, but it was during a serendipitous drive through Wellington County that I discovered Fergus. This charming town, with its blend of urban amenities and a close-knit community, instantly resonated with me, evoking fond memories of the tight-knit communities I cherished in Uganda. Fergus became my new home, a place where I could nurture my artistic passion surrounded by simplicity and nature's beauty.

Wearing multiple hats, I work part-time as a tech consultant while indulging my love for art. My art studio is a haven for my grandchildren, who eagerly join me in creating their masterpieces. Engaging with the community, I volunteer on nonprofit boards and initiate local art projects, spreading joy through creativity.

In my downtime, I find solace in tending to my garden and exploring the scenic Fergus Grand River trail and surrounding areas with my pug companion, Bella. These moments in nature rejuvenate my spirit and inspire my artistic expression. Rooted in my diverse Indo-African heritage, I infuse my art with a unique perspective, paying homage to the rich tapestry of cultures that have influenced my journey.

Portrait of Indra next to a world map showing her travel from Uganda to Fergus Ontario


Judy and Bart Llamido, Story Coming Soon

Coming Soon! Check back in a few weeks to read Judy and Bart's story. 


Adam Alhawari, Story Coming Soon

Coming Soon! Check back in a few weeks to read Adam's story. 


Maneesha Sharma. Story Coming Soon

Coming Soon! Check back in a few weeks to read Maneesha's story. 


Maulik Kumar Patel, Story Coming Soon

Coming Soon! Check back in a few weeks to read Mak's story. 


Ahmad Al-Mohamad, Story Coming Soon

Coming Soon! Check back in a few weeks to read Ahmad's story. 



Wellinton County Welcomes You! 

Whether you are a newcomer, immigrant, or visiting from afar, Wellington County offers small-town experiences with stunning natural beauty, while in close proximity to large urban centres. Join our growing community and learn more about living and working in Wellington County, or plan your next countryside vacation:

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Disclaimer: Content represents individual participant’s journey, challenges and how they came to live and work in the County. These stories and photos are being published after review and approval from individual participants.

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