Adel Mohamed moved to Toronto from Cairo with his wife and three children six years ago after accepting a medical fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital. Now, the pediatrician and his family can officially call Canada home having taken the oath of Canadian citizenship at the Harbourfront Centre – along with dozens of others — on Canada’s 147th birthday.
Mohamed, holding the couple’s fourth child who was born in Toronto 2 years ago, says the family realized they wanted to call Canada home shortly after they moved here. His wife, Soha Attallah, also a physician, says there are many qualities about Canada that suited them more than Egypt.
“The system, the organization, the schools, the community centre for the kids to do activities, the nature, …” Attallah said listing off the things she loves about Canada.
Their eldest child, Mohamed Awadalla, who was just 9 years old when he immigrated to Canada talks about the opportunities our country offers. The 15 year old says he would like to go “into psychiatry or surgery.” His 13 year old sister Mariam Awadalla hasn’t quite decided, “part of me wants to be a teacher, and another part of me wants to be a lawyer,” she said.
The family has fond memories of Egypt and love to go back to visit family but believe there is promise here for a more prosperous future. Soha, who met her husband while studying medicine in Cairo, is now also pursuing her medical residency in Ottawa. The couple explaining they have a house in Toronto, and keep an apartment where Soha is training.
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, so far this year Canada has welcomed roughly 122 thousand new citizens from about 125 countries. During the citizenship ceremony at the Harbourfront Centre, attendees were reminded that some of those who come to Canada are fleeing persecution.
Shahla Noor Al-Deen is going to take the oath of citizenship in two weeks time but attended today’s ceremony so she knows what to expect. She explains she came here as a refugee five years ago, calling it “her worst nightmare.”
“This is the land of freedom land of opportunities, I left Iraq because of the turmoil because of what’s happening now,” she said. “I was elected to do a scholarship at Lancaster and Glasgow but I didn’t go, because Saddam (Hussein) invaded Kuwait and all my dreams were shattered.”
Al-Deen talks about the opportunity our country offers and says she hopes to soon complete her PhD now that she can finally call Canada home.