A special citizenship ceremony was held on Halifax’s naval base on Saturday to welcome 55 new Canadian citizens.
With a massive Canadian flag in the background, immigrants from 22 countries took the Oath of Citizenship at HMCS Scotian.
For Ghenwa Bteddini of Lebanon, the event was a long time coming for her family.
“It’s a wonderful day,” she said. “We are so happy and so proud to be Canadian.”
The Bteddinis left Lebanon four-and-a-half years ago, with a priority of moving to a peaceful country. But Ghenwa says they were surprised by how well her family was received.
“From the beginning when we came here, they were always beside us if we need any help,” she said. “This is really like, all my respect for them.”
And when asked why they chose Canada, there was no hesitation in the answer from the mother of two girls, ages 10 and 12.
“Honestly, it’s for the future of our family and for my daughters,” said Ghenwa. “It’s a great day for us we will never forget.”
“I just feel super happy and excited,” added her daughter, 10-year-old Mariella Nasr.
Cmdr. Paul Hinkins, commanding officer of HMCS Scotian, also immigrated to Canada when he was 10. He says taking part in Saturday’s ceremony was surreal.
“It’s a very emotional moment for me,” he said. “These individuals who’ve chosen to make this country their home, chosen to adopt this country’s values, to welcome them … it’s hard to describe it.
“Very emotional and a privilege to meet every one of them.”
Halifax welcomed new Canadian citizens on National Flag of Canada Day, marking the 55th anniversary of the Canadian flag.
Halifax, the largest urban area in Atlantic Canada, is the capital of the province of Nova Scotia. It sits in the center of Nova Scotia’s east coast and is an important seaport that looks out over one of the world’s largest natural harbors. It’s been strategic militarily since its founding for just that reason and it got the nickname “Warden of the North.”
The city offers nature lovers sandy beaches, beautiful gardens, and hiking, birding, and beachcombing. Urbanites can enjoy the symphony, live theater, art galleries, and museums, along with a lively nightlife that includes brewpubs and a great culinary scene. Halifax is a relatively affordable city that provides a mix of Canadian history and modern living, with the constant influence of the sea.