Port Colborne welcomes new Canadian citizens
The country welcomed 30 new Canadian citizens on Friday morning during a citizenship ceremony at Roselawn Centre in Port Colborne. Each of the 30 people took an oath to Canada, received their certificates and officially sang the national anthem for the first time as Canadian citizens. Laura Barton/Welland Tribune/Postmedia News
Thirty people from 14 countries can now officially call themselves Canadians after a citizenship ceremony at Roselawn Centre in Port Colborne Friday morning.
Citizenship Judge Ted Salci welcomed the 30 people and took them through the process of swearing them in as Canadian citizens.
Emotions were running high as people excitedly waited for their turn to receive a certificate after taking the oath. A few shed tears as they listened to the speakers welcoming them and everyone stood proudly to sing O Canada for the first time as Canadian citizens.
Salci said after the ceremony that it’s an emotional thing for everyone involved, even those officiating it. He said he does roughly 150 citizenship ceremonies per year and is one of three judges that does so in Ontario.
During Friday’s ceremony, he had words of encouragement for the group.
“I know that many have traveled far and struggled to make a new home here in Canada, a decision to adapt to a new culture, a new climate and for many of you a new language,” he said. “You are joining the Canadian story.”
He told the new citizens they are now a part of the country’s future and that it’s a unique time to be doing so with it also being Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey agreed as he said, “This ceremony is a testament to what we’re celebrating this year.”
He spoke of celebrating the people of Canada’s past, present and future, and welcomed the new citizens to being a part of the country’s narrative. He said they are now a part of the country’s very personality.
Badawey called Canada a country where everyone belongs, and diversity is celebrated, encouraging the citizens to explore and take in the community and country fully.
Now that the group are officially Canadians, they are free to live and work in any of Canada’s provinces and territories.
Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney, Port Colborne CAO Scott Luey and veteran Anne Longval also took part in welcoming the citizens, sharing words of encouragement and celebration.
“We celebrate the inclusion of everyone,” Maloney said in his address to the crowd.
A quartet from Port Colborne High School provided music for the occasion, and students from McKay Public School in Port Colborne led the singing of O Canada to close off the ceremony.