Toronto,ON-Toronto Newcomer Day was celebrated with a special ceremony at the Nathan Phillips Square during which 39 new Canadians took their oath of citizenship.
Xiaower Jin took her oath of citizenship on her birthday. Originally from China, she expressed her joy on becoming a Canadian.
Obina Anyabolu, originally from Nigeria, told Mosaic Edition he felt very good becoming a Canadian.
He said he would be a good and productive citizen with the opportunity afforded him by Canada.
Albert Wong, Citizenship Judge, advised the new Canadians to embrace the country’s diversity.
“In Canada, inclusiveness is a key value, which means that every Canadian citizen should have the opportunity to help shape this country for the better.”
“As you now take your rightful place in our society, proceed with the confidence that you are valued, the diversity of your success is now our success; the diversity of your celebration is now our celebration,” said Albert Wong.
Earlier, John Tory, Mayor of Toronto proclaimed May 29, 2018 Toronto Newcomer Day.
He said that the coming of many immigrants to Toronto has helped to enrich the city. “This is a city built by immigrants,” he said.
“Toronto is a good place to live, but, it has got so much better by the fact that people are coming here from all over the world and grab with them their customs, their traditions, their faiths and different ways of looking at things.
“And that has enriched us immeasurably because instead of looking at that as a source of division or as a source of puzzlement as to why people are different, we use that as an opportunity to learn. An opportunity to learn and to make this place better.”
“Thanks to the contributions of other people from different parts of the world.
“We have lived here respecting each other, embracing each other, learning from each other and that has made us better.”
He admitted that there is a lot to be done in settlement and integration of newcomers.
The city focuses on creating access, equal opportunity so newcomers can integrate quickly into the society.
Housing is a challenge. A disproportionate number of those who cannot find a house in Toronto are newcomers. He promised the city hall was finding solution to the problem.
On refugees, he said the city should “have a partnership with other governments to make sure that when refugees are welcome here with open arms we have the kind of housing and other supports that have to be done by all the governments together to make sure that they too can integrate themselves as soon as possible.”
“Instead of using diversity as a source of division, it should be seen as a source of strength.
“Toronto is a place where we welcome one another with open arms, and that will not change,” said the mayor.
John Tory noted that the city is not perfect, but has achieved a lot by the way residents accept each other and live together.
The theme of this year’s Newcomer Day is Civic Engagement.
Ulli Watkiss, Toronto City Clerk, said civic engagement is helping people to be active participants in building and strengthening their communities.
“The city’s newcomer strategy identifies that supporting newcomers is key to their successful settlement and integration.”
“Toronto is one of the most multicultural places in the world. Many diverse cultures and communities have come from around the globe and help Toronto become the great city that it is.
“We want to ensure that you are all welcome and feel supported as you contribute to your local neighbourhood, community and city.
“We want you to be a big part of Toronto’s growth and success as our motto says ‘Diversity is our strength.’”
As part of measures to increase engagement in the democratic process, Toronto is making a booklet available on how to participate at the local government level.
The booklet “my local government, it’s for me” is made available free of charge.
It helps to explain the city’s government, and how council, committees, boards and agencies make decisions.
“We want to breakdown the barriers to participation that many newcomers may face,” said the city clerk.
The booklet is available in print and online translated into 24 languages.
On the coming municipal elections, October 22, 2018, she said, “I strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to vote.”
Anyone who is not a citizen is advised to come and work in any of the election offices so they can learn and understand the electoral system.
There is need for 15,000 election officials whose language and cultural skill would be useful.
At the booth of the city, is a mock vote. One can see a sample ballot, see how to mark the ballot, and vote using a tabulator.
Neethan Shan, municipal councilor, is grateful that he was given an opportunity to serve as councilor having come to Canada as a refugee from Sri Lanka.
He said newcomers should be engaged and have their voices heard.
Councillor Jim Karygiannis urged the new citizens to be proud of their new country.
“As new Canadian citizens I call on you to work on those that will follow you in your footsteps, to share the knowledge of the path you used to get here, and to encourage them along the way,” said Jim Karygiannis.
Toronto Newcomer Day – Citizenship Ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square photos.