Ryerson hosted a citizenship ceremony, welcoming 52 new Canadians from 22 different countries
More than 50 people from 22 different countries celebrated their Canadian citizenship Wednesday at Ryerson’s Student Learning Centre.
Held in collaboration with Ryerson University Library, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the ceremony featured Indigenous Elder Wendy Phillip and Ryerson’s president Mohamed Lachemi.
“I think there is no better way for us to show that we are part of the community than inviting new Canadians to celebrate their citizenship ceremony at Ryerson, and we are very proud to host it,” Lachemi told the Ryersonian. “We have been doing this for the past two or three years. We would love to continue welcoming new Canadians to our campus and our country.”
Before reciting the oath of citizenship, the new citizens were first asked to join a roundtable discussion about their journey to Canada and their goals. Some citizens said they hope to be entrepreneurs in the health or entertainment industries.
“I think it’s important for every institution, both formal and informal, to have a role in citizenship, period,” roundtable host Salimah Ebrahim said about Ryerson’s role in the ceremony. “I’m seeing little kids here today, and all these little kids are going to be graduating from (an) institution like Ryerson.”
The day had a personal significance for Ebrahim, whose family became citizens over three decades ago. To her, being Canadian means having security.
“Whether you arrived in Canada decades ago or yesterday, you have a voice, as part of this country, as a gift, not only in our own affairs here in this country but it imbues you of the confidence to be a real global citizen,” she said.
Citizens then recited the oath of citizenship and received their official documentation, finishing the ceremony by singing the national anthem.
Rahel Gharmichael became a citizen in 2017. She attended Wednesday’s event in celebration of her friend and former roommate, whom she had met in a shelter when they first arrived to Canada.
“She’s not my friend, she’s my sister. Today, I’m happy she became (a) citizen,” Gharmichael said. Gharmichael said for her, becoming a citizen two years ago meant having freedom. “I can go wherever I want. Freedom, I have so much freedom. I can do whatever I want, talk whatever I want. Also for my kids, they have a better future.”