Celebrating New Canadians: Citizenship Ceremony at Toronto Reference Library, April 23, 2019
On April 23, 57 new Canadians from 23 countries took the oath as part of a community citizenship ceremony at Toronto Reference Library. This event was made possible thanks to the partnership with Institute of Canadian Citizenship (ICC) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
This memorable milestone began with a special heartwarming message from Elder Laureen "Blu" Waters Gaudio, who welcomed everyone as Treaty People and to Canada. She asked the new Canadians to share their ideas and stories and highlighted how their presence contributes to the diversity of Canada. New Canadians also had meaningful conversations about their journey and active citizenship with community leaders and members at the roundtables before the ceremony. City Librarian, Vickery Bowles, was one of the roundtable hosts, sharing her story and experiences with the new Canadians and their families.
At the ceremony, Vickery encouraged everyone present to be active and engaged citizens. She also spoke about the strong values of public libraries including diversity, intellectual freedom, equity and innovation. Dr. Neda Maghbouleh, an author and Assistant Professor of Sociology, participated in the roundtable discussions and spoke at the ceremony as well. Presiding Citizenship Judge Albert Wong closed the ceremony by encouraging the children and youth to study well and practice hard.
The journey from being a newcomer to becoming a citizen may not always be smooth and Toronto Public Library (TPL) is here to help! We welcome newcomers to visit our branches for the helpful collections and programs or visit our New to Canada page to learn more about what we have to offer. ICC's Chief Executive Officer, Yasir Naqvi, shared that he and his family got their library cards shortly after they arrived 30 years ago and they have always appreciate the Library's resources.
One essential service for newcomers to Toronto is the Library Settlement Partnerships (LSP). It is funded by IRCC and features knowledgeable and multilingual settlement workers who offer one-on-one information referrals and programs for newcomers at several TPL branches. LSP's goal is to help newcomers settle in Toronto over the long term.
To celebrate and welcome newcomers, TPL participates in the annual Toronto Newcomer Day that takes place at Nathan Phillips Square. The first Toronto Newcomer Day took place in 2015 and this year marks its 5th anniversary. Some of the activities for this year are:
The Welcome Gesture, led by Dreamwalk Dance Company and starting at 12:15 pm. It will feature hundreds of ESL and LINC students. Part of the gesture is a dance and movement experience that supports and celebrates the Canadian values of diversity, mutual respect and freedom of self-expression. Learn more about the Welcome Gesture.
The Kuné (which means "together" in Esperanto) is Canada's Global Orchestra and they will be performing as part of the stage show starting at 12:30 pm. The orchestra consists of 11 musicians from Peru, Burkina Faso, Cuba, Ukraine and beyond. This is one show not to be missed.
In addition, TPL is pleased to work with Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone in hosting Indigenous hand drumming circles. TPL will also be part of the information fair. Be sure to come by and talk to our staff about our programs and services for newcomers.
If you don't already have a library card, you can come sign up for one on Toronto Newcomer Day.
No matter which stage of the settlement journey you are at, TPL and the City are here to lend a helping hand and celebrate big and small successes.