Some of the Arab Canadians Who Made a Difference in Canada


RAWI HAGE [Writer, Visual artist, and a Curator]

• Born in 1946, Lebanon.
• Raised as Christian Maronite.
• He first started as a Photographer then switched to writing novels.
• His first novel “De Niro’s Game” was nominated in October, 2006 to the short list for the Scotia Bank Giller prize for literary fiction.
• Other awards include the;
Governor General's Award: Fiction - Shortlisted (2006)
Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction - Winner (2006)
McAuslan First Book Prize - Winner (2006)
Rogers Writer's Trust Fiction Prize - Shortlisted (2007)
Commonwealth Writer's Prize (Canada and the Caribbean): Best First Book - Shortlisted (2007)

LAWRENCE (LARRY) SHABEN [Minister of Housing and a Politician]

• Born in Canada in March 20, 1935 from a Lebanese descent.
• Canadian politician.
• He was the Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta for Lesser Slave Lake from 1975-1989 representing the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.
• Shaben was the first Arab and the first Muslim MLA elected in Alberta and the first Muslim Cabinet Minister in Canada.
• He served Minister of Housing and Minister of Utilities and Telephones and as a Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

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JOSEPH ATALLAH GHIZ [Premier of Prince Edward Island]

• Born in Charlottetown on January 27, 1945 to Atallah Joseph Ghiz, a Syrian-Lebanese corner store owner and Marguerite McKarris.
• Was the Premier of Prince Edward Island from 1986 to 1993, an educator of law and a justice of the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island.
• He is the father of Robert Ghiz, the current Premier of Prince Edward Island.
• Was a graduate of Dalhousie and Harvard law schools and was a Charlottetown lawyer before entering into politics.
• Following his decision to leave politics, Ghiz served as dean of his alma mater, the Dalhousie Law School until 1995, when he was appointed to the PEI Supreme Court. Ghiz died of cancer in 1996.
• Several weeks before his death, he was driven by construction personnel across the largest completed section of the Confederation Bridge which had yet to be connected to the North American mainland.


• Born in Lebanon in 1953.
• Immigrated to Canada in 1973.
• Mac Harb graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Science and an M.A. in Engineering. A former engineer for Northern Telecom and professor at Algonquin College in Ottawa.
• Mr. Harb's political career started at the municipal level in Ottawa in 1985 as an alderman, and then as Deputy Mayor from 1987 to 1988.
• In 1988, Mr. Harb was elected to the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre. Former Opposition Critic for Public Works, Urban Affairs and Housing. Mr. Harb sat on such committees as the Standing Committee on Multiculturalism and Citizenship, House Affairs, Public Accounts, and the Members Services Board. He also co-chaired the Liberal Task Force on Infrastructure in 1990.
• Mr. Harb was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade from December 1993 until 1995.
• In September 2003, Harb was appointed to the Canadian Senate on Chrétien's recommendation.


• Born in Toronto in 1917 from a Lebanese descent.
• James’s father immigrated to New York early in the century, and the custom was at that time to re-name the immigrants with easy to pronounce name. Hence, the father was renamed and the family name (Qahwash) was omitted. Jameel was known in Canada as Jim.
• He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force for 5 years in Canada and Europe. After which he returned and finished his higher education at the University of Toronto and in the Sorbonne in Paris.
• He taught languages till 1982 in Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, Toronto.
• Meanwhile he was a public speaker and broadcaster. Even though he lectured about a series of topics, his main area was the Middle East trying to explain the Arab point of view to the Canadian public.
• Co-founder and served as the President of the Canadian Arab Friendship Society, the oldest Canadian Arab Association in existence.
• Co-author with Habeeb Salloum of many books about the Arabic language and its effect on the English language (e.g. the book Arabic Contributions to the English Language), and about the Arabic food.

DR. YOUSSEF A. MROUEH [Mathematician, Scientist, Researcher]

• Born in Nabatieh, Lebanon in 1937.
• Came to Canada in 1969.
• Educated in Lebanon, Britain, Germany, U.S.A. and Canada. He holds a D.Sc. in radiation physics from Jackson University.
• He originated a new mathematical theorem in Topology in 1954.
• Modified the Fitzgerald-Lorenz for special Relativity in 1965.
• Investigated the behaviours of matter in superhumanly speeds in 1972.
• He is in charge of research in radiation control, industrial radiography and ultrasonic.
• Arab Canadian researcher and author of several studies and reports of science, religion and philosophy.


• Born in the village of Karoun, Lebanon in 1924.
• Immigrated to Canada with his parents less than a year later.
• Lived his youth in Saskatchewan, western Canada.
• After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1943-45, he moved to Toronto. He worked for Revenue Canada from 1949 to 1985 while, at the same time, pursuing his literary and scholastic interests. After retirement, he became a full-time freelancer.
• Mr. Salloum has traveled extensively to most parts of the world and has written comprehensively about the countries through which he traveled and about their cuisines. His special interests are: Canadian and international tourism, the cuisines of the Mediterranean countries and Latin-speaking worlds, the fauna of the Arabian Peninsula, the impact of Arab/Muslim Spain on the development of subsequent world history, and Arabic contributions to the English and Spanish vocabularies.
• Among his most important recently published works are:
Arabic Contributions to the English Vocabulary.
From the Lands of Figs and Olives Over 300 Delicious and Unusual Recipes from the Middle East and North Africa.
Journeys Back to Arab Spain.
Classic Vegetarian Cooking From the Middle East and North Africa.

PAUL ANKA [Singer, Song writer, Actor, Composer]

• Born 30 July 1941, in Ottawa, Ontario is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actor of Lebanese origin.
• He became a U.S citizen in 1990.
• Anka's parents, who owned a restaurant, were of Lebanese Christian descent. He started singing with the St Elijah Syrian Orthodox Church choir.
• Anka first became famous as a teen idol in the late 1950s and 1960s with hits songs like [Diana], [Lonely Boy], and [Put Your Head on My Shoulder]. He went on to write such well known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Tom Jones' biggest hit [She's A Lady], and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra's signature song [My Way] Early life
• His talent went beyond singing, writing Buddy Holly's giant hit [It Doesn't Matter Anymore], the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
• In the 1960s Anka would begin acting in motion pictures as well as writing songs for them, most notably the theme for the hit movie [The Longest Day]. From his movie work, he wrote and recorded one of his greatest hit, [Lonely Boy]. He then went on to become one of the first pop singers to perform at the Las Vegas casinos.
• Anka returns to Canada several times a year, regularly playing to the crowds at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
• Anka awarded a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto.
• Paul Anka was elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1980. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
• The Government of France honored him with the title [Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters].
• He was married to Anne De Zogheb, the daughter of Lebanese diplomat Count Charles de Zogheb, from February 16, 1963 to September 28, 2000, Of English, Lebanese, French, Dutch and Greek descent, she was a fashion model. The couple married the following year in Paris. De Zogheb quit modelling after their second child, Amanda Anka was born. They have five daughters: Amelia, Anthea, Alicia, Amanda (wife of actor Jason Bateman) and Alexandra.

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[Superior Court of Justice, Judge, Umpire]

• Roger’s family came to Canada from Lebanon in 1912. They arrived in Quebec.
• He obtained his B.A. at McGill in 1958 and LLB Osgood Hall in 1961, then his diploma in Comparative Legal Studies at Cambridge in 1962.
• He practiced general litigation in Toronto and Owen Sound, then appointed Queen counsel in 1978.
• He served at the Superior Court of Justice in 1991, Administrative Judge in 1992, at and the Umpire Employment Insurance Appeals Board in 1999.
• He was a lecturer at the University of Windsor (1971-1993), the Bar admission course, Federation of Law Societies, Ontario Provincial Police, Canadian Judicial Council, Conference of Ontario Boards and Agencies, and the National Judicial Institute.
• He served a Governor at Sir Wilfred Laurier University (1994-1997)
• He authorized several publications such as:
The Canadian Criminal Procedure (6th edition)
The Police Manual of Arrest, Seizure and Interrogation
The Origin of Rights (1986)
Cross Examination – The Art of the Advocate (3rd edition 2006)
The Practice Guide to Evidence in Criminal Cases (6th edition 2002)
The Criminal Trial Handbook (1992)
Preparation and Presentations of a Civil Action (June 2000)
Author and Editor – Studies in Canadian Criminal Evidence (1972)

Also some of the Arabic poets in Canada:

Melhem Al-Hawi - Lebanese/Canadian. Most impressive poem “The Shadow of the Stranger”
Elias Thomas - Lebanese/Canadian. Most famous poem “Generations Echo”.
Najeeb Kteny Al-Maaloof - Lebanese/Canadian. Most famous poem “Ask the Sun about us”.
Ramez Abu Samra - Lebanese/Canadian.
Michael Darweesh - Lebanese/Canadian.
Fr. Habib Kwaiter - Syrian/Canadian.
Dr. Ibrahim Melhim Al-Ghareeb – Lebanese/Canadian.
Dr. Fadhel Fedha - Syrian/Canadian.
Muhammad Ali Farhat - Lebanese/Canadian.

And some of the Arabic Artists in Canada:

Adel Al-Naser - Iraqi/Canadian. Studied Art in Italy.
Hanna Alpha - Born in Egypt of Lebanese parents, studied in Egypt, Lebanon and Montreal.
Nihal Mazloum - Egyptian/Canadian.
Bernice Lutfie Sorge - Syrian/Canadian.
Ali Kichou - Algerian/Canadian.
Camille Zakharia - Lebanese/Canadian.
Nicolas Zeitouni - Egyptian/Canadian.
Abdelhamid Hanafi - Tunisian/Canadian.
Marc Eliany - Moroccan/Canadian.

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