Yaser Nabib, a first-year U of T student in civil engineering, was one of 487 people who became Canadian citizens at a ceremony at Convocation Hall in early February. Nabib came to Toronto five years ago from Bangladesh, and attended the event with his mother, Iftasum, who was also becoming a citizen. “I’m so proud of him,” Iftasum said. “He is a really good student.”
The event marked the first-ever swearing-in of new citizens at the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. John McCallum, the minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, administered the oath that the new citizens repeated, first in French, then English.
It was a day when waving tiny Canadian flags was done with enthusiasm and “O Canada” was belted out, not mumbled.
Speaking directly to the new Canadians, U of T president Meric Gertler said, “I am immensely optimistic about our future. Your ideas, your traditions, your perspectives will make our great nation more vibrant, more successful and a better place for us all.”
For Shirley Hoy, vice-chair of U of T’s Governing Council who was born in China, the ceremony brought back memories of when she became a citizen. She told the crowd she had also experienced “the undeniable challenges you have overcome to be here today.”
U of T chancellor Michael Wilson urged the new citizens to “learn more about your country, read our history, vote in elections and become engaged in your community.” In this way, he said, one gets “the full measure of being a Canadian.”