News: New Canadians take in Canada Day

Published in the July 2nd issue of The Edmonton Sun. News

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Edmonton Sun

It was an especially patriotic Canada Day for a culturally diverse group of Edmontonians at the Legislature grounds Thursday.

Eighty immigrants representing 66 different countries became Canadian citizens at a citizenship ceremony on the nation’s 143rd birthday.

“I like that my mom is Canadian now because now she gets to stay with me here in Canada,” said six-year-old Zeina Shaabad after watching her mother Katerina, from Kazakhstan, be sworn in as a Canadian citizen.

“I didn’t think I was going to feel this way,” Katerina said proudly, clutching her citizenship papers. “It’s like something you can’t express in words.”

The new Canadians stood under the shining sun with their right hands held high, taking an oath that would seal the deal for their citizenship.

“I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen,” said Emmanuel Owusu, from Ghana, with a wide smile.

The ceremony concluded with a roaring rendition of the national anthem and citizenship Judge Sonia Bitar exclaiming “welcome to the Canadian family.”

But the citizenship ceremony was only one of many Canada Day celebrations taking place across the city.

The annual Silly Summer Parade in Old Strathcona was a big draw.

Kay Read, 81, energetically danced up and down Whyte Avenue donning a red and white wig as part of the festivities.

Read was dancing with the Senior Citizens Opportunity Neighbourhood Association float, which included inflated walkers and seniors sitting in rocking chairs, knitting.

At city hall, families gathered for food, fun and to take a look at the winning entries for the Canada Day poster challenge contest, which asked students to draw what Canada means to them.

“I wanted to show this tree which just blossoms and grows, with its roots in Canada,” said 16-year-old winner, Colette Bachand.

Bachand drew a giant tree with colourful images showing people and city skylines, with a maple leaf in the centre.

A birthday cake normally presented to citizens gathered at city hall was instead donated to the less fortunate at the Bissell Centre this year.

Many Edmontonians also spent the day at the Edmonton Garrison watching live musical performances and shows like military tanks crushing cars.

The city’s celebration of Canada Day was to be topped off with a fireworks finale over the North Saskatchewan River.

This year the popular High Level Bridge waterfall was not turned on as the city continues to review options for using dechlorinated water.

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