A Citizenship Ceremony in Toronto's The Bentway

September 11, 2019

Citizenship is such a valuable part of our identity. It connects us with others, grants us rights and responsibilities, and - in multicultural Canada especially - provides us an opportunity to go deeper in our understanding of one another, to build bridges, and to strengthen our ties to our fellow Canadians.

I must admit though, that those thoughts aren't always at the forefront of my mind. Life is busy and I often have less lofty goals to strive for - getting kids to appointments, picking up groceries, work to complete, household chores...

The opportunity to document a Canadian citizenship ceremony for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, held in late June - just days before Canada Day, helped to bring those more meaningful thoughts and convictions back to my heart and mind.

I'll share some highlights of the event in this post.

The ceremony was held in The Bentway - a popular new public space beneath Toronto's Gardiner Expressway.

A large number of volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds came together to be hosts for roundtable discussions.

Hosts for discussion groups were prepared for their role - to facilitate meaningful conversations about citizenship with those present at their table.

Lively discussions were held at each table, with participants sharing stories of their journeys to Canadian citizenship.

Following these meaningful discussions, individuals came forward to share thoughts from their table groups.

There was much excitement leading up to the ceremony...

The ceremony proceeded with all swearing the Canadian Oath of Citizenship.

New citizens received a certificate of Canadian citizenship...

The singing of the national anthem was an emotional moment for all...

Words of insight and inspiration were shared by Yasir Naqvi, the CEO of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship...

After the ceremony and inspiring words, new citizens gathered with family and friends for photos and to continue their celebration.

Mary Wiens of CBC Radio interviewed new citizens following the ceremony. Elder Laureen Blu Waters, present as an honoured guest and speaker at the ceremony, celebrates with new Canadians.

 

I love how these events model meaningful dialogue and inspire all who attend to live as active and engaged citizens.

Congratulations to all the new Canadian citizens and thank you to the Institute of Canadian Citizenship for the opportunity to serve them once again!

(I previously captured images for them in August 2017 - click here to see my post from then - and had an equally wonderful and moving time.)

 


Culture Snap Photography features the work of Toronto-based photographer Henry VanderSpek. Henry specializes in documenting the work of local and international non-profit organizations, special events, live music, street and art photography. To hire Henry for an assignment, please click here to get in touch.
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