'I chose Canada': New citizens sworn in at special Charlottetown ceremony

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'I chose Canada': New citizens sworn in at special Charlottetown ceremony

'I chose Canada': New citizens sworn in at special Charlottetown ceremony

Twenty-eight people were sworn in as new Canadians at a special citizenship ceremony in Charlottetown Saturday night.

They were invited as part of a celebration at the Confederation Centre of the Arts for Canada's 150th birthday.

The room was filled with many friends and family snapping photographs and hugging one another.

For Farahnaz Rezaei, the ceremony has been a long time coming.

"If I wanted to put the total number of years together to get to today, it would be like 14 years," she said.

The ceremony was hosted by The Walrus Foundation, a non-profit group that is touring the country and having Order of Canada recipients serve as guest speakers at events. Author Charlotte Gray, who immigrated to Canada in 1979, spoke at the event.

Rezaei said she will never forget the evening.

"Today, I can say my wishes and my dreams came true," she said.

Rezaei is originally from Iran, but spent most of her life in Kuwait before making Canada her new home.

"I chose Canada to be my home. I came to have an identity, I came to have a country and I came to feel proud to say I am a Canadian citizen," she said.

Rezaei now works in the P.E.I. office of immigration where she helps other newcomers.

"I have walked in [their] shoes, so when someone comes and asks for our services, I know the challenges, I know the sacrifice," said Rezaei.

'The roots grew deeper'

Karin Melzer has been in Canada for 12 years, but said Saturday's ceremony means officially getting to call the country home.

"It's like the roots grew deeper I guess, you know? I mean I just feel very proud and very happy," she said.

Naden Subh came to Canada from the Middle East.

Originally from Palestine, Subh lived the majority of her life in Qatar before moving to Canada eight years ago.

"There's a lot of stuff going on in the Middle East, so it's a good thing we have our citizenship," she said.

Subh said coming to Canada and leaving behind her home was easier than most people would expect.

"I faced a lot of discrimination back home, but now we have our citizenship, it's going to be different," said Subh.

Harminder Singh has been in Canada for seven years, and moved from Italy with his parents seven years ago.

"My parents wanted a better life for me and my brother," said Singh. "I've always felt like a Canadian, ever since I moved here."

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