#OCanada #freedom #safety #friendship #peace #home #community #gratitude #givingback #volunteer #NewCanadianCitizens #Canada #Canadian
Today I had the honour and privilege of facilitating one of 14 round tables for 55 about-to-be #NewCanadianCitizens at the Ontario Science Centre as part of an initiative called #BuildingCitizenship for The Institute For Canadian Citizenship. The citizenship ceremony which followed was presided by the very warm and welcoming Justice Albert Wong. What a judge! Justice Wong came via #Malaysia and landed in #Sudbury (as I aspire to earn more medals)!
As a co-facilitator, my role was to ensure everyone at our table had a chance to share stories on why they chose to become a #Canadian citizen. We had such diversity in age, culture, and profession – a father who became a citizen 4 years ago came to witness his identical twin 20+ something year olds from Lahore, Pakistan; a smiling Dutchman who has been here for 14 years with his Montreal-born spouse; a lovely Colombian fellow who also married a Canadian and has been living in Canada for 8 years; and my co-facilitator, a distinguished retiree who came to Canada in early 70’s with $200 in his pocket from Zanzibar, Tanzania and now has a daughter and two grandchildren in Canada.
We were tasked to complete the sentence “I became a Canadian when ….” So at the end of our hour, we presented in 6 words our collective thoughts. It made us pause to think and reflect. The sports enthusiasts immediately shouted @BlueJays #ourmoment @Raptors #wethenorth . Sports always unite and binds community… immediately! No language needed. The more “seasoned” generation spoke about Canada as a land of “peace and heaven on earth” and “the beginning of new beginnings”. The creatives focused on the scale and scope of the beauty and vastness of Toronto and the distinctive four seasons in all their colour and glory.
However, the one person who I believe said it best was “when I am at the end of my travels, I am looking forward to coming home. Canada is “home” to me.”
Having worked and lived in faraway countries and in cultures so different from where I was born and brought up, a small Prairie town, I know this feeling all too well – “coming home”. Canada is home. Is it this feeling of comfort, joy, and love with undeniable certainty? Without a doubt, I couldn’t feel prouder to hear voices, young and old, from many different countries calling Canada “home” , “OUR home and native land”! #OCanada!