Ottawa

Canada welcomes new citizens in Ottawa

Over 50 people from 29 different countries were granted Canadian citizenship on Wednesday at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Over 50 people from 29 different countries were granted Canadian citizenship on Wednesday at a ceremony in Ottawa.

At about 10:23 a.m., Judge Thanh Hai Ngo led 51 new Canadians in the Oath of Citizenship at the ceremony at Ridgemont High School, in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Alta Vista.

The event, supported in part by CBC Ottawa, was also hosted by Ridgemont principal Richard King and CBC anchor Lucy van Oldenbarneveld.

New Canadians from Algeria, Lebanon, Scotland and Venezuela were among those at the ceremony.

Sam Nefah moved to Canada from Egypt in 2006, and said the ongoing protests there made Wednesday's ceremony even more poignant.

"I'm very happy now that on the day I'm taking my citizenship oath the people in Egypt, they are revolting against all of these bad things that led to not only me, but a lot of Egyptian immigrants, to leave and come here," Nefah said.

Since coming to Canada, Nefah has requalified to work as a pharmacist.

Ross Whiteford attended the ceremony in full Scottish garb, complete with a kilt. He said It took him 18 years to get his citizenship, including one ill-fated attempt when he left application photos in his jeans which then got washed.

Sam Nefah became a Canadian citizen after immigrating from Egypt in 2006. ((John Rieti/CBC))
"I tried to do it a few times, and just gave up filling out the forms … then eventually I thought 'let's do it,'" Whiteford said.

Citizenship judge praises new Canadians

Ngo praised the new Canadians for having the courage and wisdom to move to Canada, a country he described as multicultural and diverse.

He encouraged the new Canadians to be active in their community, and said their experiences would be crucial to the country's future.

"With your talents, we can build a better Canada," Ngo said.

Canadians in attendance were asked to repeat the oath, and Ngo said the event was "a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what Canadian citizenship means," Ngo said.

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