From immigrants to citizens: Canada Day takes on new importance for Halifax family

·2 min read
Oluwaseun and Ismail Subair wanted to come to Nova Scotia because they saw it as a great place to raise their sons, Aman and Miraj.  (Submitted by Ismail Subair - image credit)
Oluwaseun and Ismail Subair wanted to come to Nova Scotia because they saw it as a great place to raise their sons, Aman and Miraj. (Submitted by Ismail Subair - image credit)

It was big day for dozens of people across the country as they became Canadian citizens.

For one family in the Halifax area, the opportunity was extra special because they got to say their oath in person — the first to do so since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Ismail Subair, his wife, Oluwaseun, and their sons, Aman and Miraj, attended the ceremony Friday that featured families across the country who were participating virtually.

"It means a whole lot," said Ismail Subair. "It's a big thing to be a Canadian family."

Thirty people swore their oaths in person, while 19 did it remotely.

The Subair family is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, but the parents wanted to move somewhere with more opportunities for the kids.

CBC
CBC

Subair said it was his wife who first championed the idea of moving to Canada.

"It made a lot of sense in that point of time," he said. "Somewhere we could grow ourselves, grow our career."

The family started investigating the differences between the provinces and decided that Nova Scotia would be ideal. They wanted a place that revolved around family.

"It's kind of a bit laid-back, and it fits everything we want for ourselves," said Subair.

He applied under the skilled worker immigration program. Not long after, he was approved.

The family arrived in the Halifax area in 2018 and eventually settled in Spryfield. Subair now works for the provincial government in the IT department.

'Make use of every opportunity you have,' says new citizen

Half of their time in Canada has been during the pandemic. Subair said that was an unexpected challenge.

"But life has to go on, and you have to make use of every opportunity you have," he said.

When asked about the family's most memorable moments, Subair immediately brought up their first snowball, which his children loved.

"[I had] mixed feelings. However, it was exciting," he said with a laugh.

'A new chapter,' says immigration minister

Sean Fraser, the federal minister of immigration, administered the oath of citizenship for the Subairs.

In a statement, Fraser referred to the moment as "a new chapter in their Canadian story."

Subair agreed, saying he is grateful for the chance to be Canadian.

"Canada, Nova Scotia, has been a great place to live. Trust me," he said.

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