CBC journalists rediscover their culture

As part of the CBC News series Rediscovering Culture, see how CBC hosts and reporters have gone on their own cultural journey.

See how CBC hosts and reporters have gone on their own cultural journey


CBC Toronto's new series Rediscovering Culture focuses on how individuals across the GTA have reconnected with their cultural roots.

Our CBC Toronto journalists have their own stories to share. Here are the ways these reporters and hosts have reclaimed their heritage.

Farrah Merali, CBC Toronto reporter

(photo credit: Kevin Van Paassen)

"Food is the language of love for many in my culture. Though I grew up with the smell of onions frying and mustard seeds popping in a pan, growing up in Victoria all I wanted was to blend in with my non-Indian friends. It wasn't until I left home for university that I truly started reconnecting with my culture — starting with food. Every recipe that was shared with me by an auntie had a story — many tracing back to when they first came here as refugees from East Africa. Food opened the door to many other aspects of my identity, like language and history — and I'm grateful for that."

Angelina King, CBC Toronto reporter

(photo credit: Laura Pedersen)

"When you're mixed, rediscovering culture means rediscovering two cultures. It can be complex and confusing — why do I say I'm Chinese-Romanian and not Romanian-Chinese? It can be fragile ⁠— wanting to ensure respect is paid to both cultures equally. It can bring up feelings of guilt — wishing I was more connected to my two cultures.⁠⁠ Part of rediscovering my cultures is learning from others and hearing their stories. It's having the rare opportunity to meet someone so similar to myself. This is a photo of Haan Palcu-Chang and I. Outside my family, he's the second Chinese-Romanian person I've met. I interviewed him for our rediscovering culture series and I learned so much about myself just by speaking with him."

Jason D'Souza, host on CBC's Fresh Air

(photo provided by Jason D'Souza)

"My mom has always made the best Indian food imaginable in my opinion. But it's because of that, I never tried to recreate it myself over the years (because how could you?). This pandemic has meant being unable to head home for long stretches, and it's also meant being unable to eat her food. Over the past two years I've finally taken it on to recreate those staples of my youth and even though it's only about 60 per cent as good, it's been a very welcome reconnection."

Lisa Xing, CBC Toronto reporter

(photo credit: Kevin Van Paassen)

"Because I left China at a young age, I knew almost nothing about it. Of course, I remembered my grandparents walking me to kindergarten, the smell of cooking wafting through the streets and speaking a slew of Sichuanese (my province's dialect.) I brought an emotional connection with me to Canada but I knew nothing about China itself. So I decided to tackle grad school to learn about its history and relationship with the rest of the world. Through that, I finally started understanding how it became the country it is today and my own family's history."