P.E.I. just got 195 new Canadian citizens

Hugs and laughter at the Murphy Centre as friends and family welcome newcomers — and some not so new — to the ranks of Canada's citizenry.

Sworn-in all at once at large gathering in Charlottetown

All five members of the Akinsola family became Canadians today. Mom, Janet, came to Canada from Nigeria in 2009. Husband Olabaniji and children Elizabeth, Samuel and Deborah followed in 2012. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

It took nearly two hours to shake all the hands, sign all the documents and pledge allegiance to Canada and the Queen — as 195 people became Canadian citizens Thursday in Charlottetown.

Applause, flowers, hugs and laughter greeted the individuals and families.

They came from 32 countries around the world, with one thing in common; the desire to call Canada home.

6,300 people across Canada are taking the oath of citizenship this week. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Among those in the audience, a Grade 3 class from a local Charlottetown school, Ecole Francois Buote. Their teacher, Fatima-Zahra Zouhairi, was being sworn in.

"This year we do citizenship in the social studies so I just thought it's the best way to introduce them to being a Canadian citizen," said Zouhairi.

Fatima-Zahra Zouhairi teaches Grade 3 at Ecole Francois Buote in Charlottetown. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Teresa Canada and her son Ynigo, 10, came to Canada from the Philippines. Their last name — Canada — drew applause, and some laughter, when their names were read aloud during the ceremony.

​"Quite a coincidence," said Ynigo. "This is a once in a lifetime experience you will never forget."

"We're always saying … we're meant to be here. Our name is Canada," said Teresa.

Teresa and Ynigo Canada, 10, shake hands with a member of the RCMP. Yes, their last name really is Canada. 'Quite a coincidence,' says Ynigo. (Brian Higgins/CBC)
Rasha Elbehery, from Egypt, took her oath of citizenship with 3-month-old daughter Maria cradled in her arms. (Brian Higgins/CBC)
Citizenship judge Joan Mahoney told the new citizens that Canada is founded on the rule of law, and that the ceremony was taking place on traditional Mi'kmaq territory. (Brian Higgins/CBC)
Maria Munoz de Urena from Dominican Republic turns 80 later this month as a Canadian citizen. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

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About the Author

Brian Higgins

Brian Higgins began his career as a video-journalist in 1994 in Ontario. Since 2002 he has been based on Prince Edward Island. He holds degrees in journalism and biological science.