With just 100 days left until the 2015 Pan Am games, Toronto granted citizenship to 99 people from 58 countries at a ceremony Wednesday. The ceremony took place at the Cooper Koo YMCA in the Athletes Village by Front Street East and Cherry Street.
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, Citizenship Judge Albert Wong and former Canadian Olympian speed skater Catriona Le May Doan welcomed the new Canadians in a sports-themed ceremony.
“I never forget how fortunate I am and continue to be, to wear the maple leaf,” Le May Doan said at the ceremony. “We have forces that wear the maple leaf and athletes dare to wear the
maple leaf. And when they go out there at every sporting event, we don’t forget that it’s an honour but it is also a responsibility.”
The excitement for the upcoming games and the venue could be felt in the air. The guests were in awe of the newly built facility and buzzed about feeling lucky to be at the special ceremony, hearing warm and welcoming words from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.
“When you take the oath today, you’re inheriting a great legacy,” Alexander said, in a speech.
After the distribution of citizenship certificates, group photos were taken of the new Canadian citizens, and special shots were taken of those from 19 countries participating in the Pan Am games.
“You’re now known as Canadians to the rest of the world. You’re part of a country with so much to give to the rest of humanity,” said Citizenship Judge Albert Wong. “Today, in this YMCA center, today in this Athletes Village, in this city of Toronto, in this great country, you are home.”
The Pan Am games will run from July 10-26 in the GTA, Hamilton and Niagara. The event is expected to draw thousands of athletes from the Americas and the Caribbean. The event anticipates the attendance of thousands of spectators.