At long last: the Canadian Citizenship Ceremony

March 17, 2011 | Janice

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After the waiting and the hard work of learning about Canada so you can write the test and waiting some more, you arrive at the day of your Citizenship ceremony.  What can you expect?  I was lucky enough to go to one that was held at Parkdale Library, on Monday, March 14.

First, the new almost-Canadian citizens and their friends and family meet with members of the community in a church basement, to talk about citizenship and what it means to all of us.   

It is so interesting to hear the people at my table talk about why they came to Canada.  Even though they come from different countries and came at different times, they came for the very same reasons:  to build better lives, with more opportunities for them and their children.  And what will change when they become citizens ?  "I will feel different, I will feel good about being Canadian",  "I can travel without hassles", "I can vote and then complain about the politicians!" ;-)   And how are they contributing to their communities?  One man at the table helps with youth groups at his church and another cleans up his street every week.  I am very impressed.

After the discussion, we are all feeling very happy and excited.  We walk to the library and assemble in the auditorium.  The citizenship judge talks about the rights and responsibilities of becoming a Canadian citizen.  Everyone is called to the front to receive their certificates and handshakes and then we all sing "O, Canada", loudly.  The judge encourages all of us to declare "I am Canadian!" in French and English. There is a Chinese dance performance from a group of tiny little adorable girls and all the new and old Canadian citizens smile at them. And then we have cake and refreshments and chat while friends and family take lots of photos :-)

It is a great day and it will be for you, too!  

Here's a citizenship ceremony that took place at the Art Gallery of Ontario - you can see how happy everyone is, can't you?