Today was a special day for 49 immigrants who became Canadian Citizens. The day was special because it coincided with major landmark events in Canada. Today is the anniversary of the founding of the Canadian flag and this day in history is also the recognition of February as the Black History month following a motion introduced by the first Black Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons, Jean Augustine.
Amir, originally from Iran was the first to be called to receive his certificate of citizenship. In an interview, flanked by his family he told mosaicedition.com he was excited and thankful for the opportunity given him by Canada.
Santosh, originally from India said the journey to citizenship took almost 5 years and expressed her gratitude to Canada for giving her the citizenship.
The new citizens, drawn form 20 countries received a gift in commemoration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. They received a free entry pass to Canada’s historical sites including over 1200 museums from coast to cost. The special access pass and discounts on travel fares will expire in February, 2018.
The presiding officer of the citizenship ceremony, Julia Koschitzky centered her message on the significance of the Canadian flag.
“Our red and white flag means home to all Canadians and inspire a fierce sense of national pride,” she said.
“They are a symbol of our open heart and our open minds, of our diversity, and our values, including love for democracy and respect for individual rights and freedom.”
Julia Koschitzky said the Canadian flag “is a constant reminder of the great privilege we share as citizens of this country”.
The ceremony, which took place at the MaRS innovation district in Toronto, was a reminder to the new Canadians of the contribution of immigrants to Canada’s development.
Usha Srinivasan, VP Learning and Insights, MaRs Discovery district noted that the building where the ceremony took place was where insulin was discovered by immigrants, Dr. Frederick Banting and Professor John Macleod.
“MaRs is the largest global innovation centre in the world.”
“We work with innovators to help solve global challenges in the world.” “In the past 8 years we have seen great innovators brought to the market and half of the innovators are foreign born citizens,” she said.
Usha Srinivasa advised them to fully engage in activities outside their communities, volunteer, contribute and learn from other Canadians.
The Institute for Canadian Citizenship hosted the citizenship ceremony. The Institute delivers programs and special projects that inspire inclusion, create opportunities to connect and encourage active citizenship.