July 1, 2017 5:18 pm

Londoners welcome new Canadians at citizenship ceremony on Canada 150

Hundreds gather at Harris Park to celebrate a citizenship ceremony on Canada Day.

Christian D'Avino /AM980

The pouring rain couldn’t stop hundreds of Londoners from gathering in Harris Park today to celebrate with new Canadians who were granted citizenship on Canada’s 150th birthday.

The event at Harris Park was one of 55 similar ceremonies held across the country for today’s sesquicentennial.

READ MORE: A wet but festive Canada 150 celebration on Parliament Hill

Many of the city’s politicians were in attendance, including Mayor Matt Brown and Peter Fragiskatos, MP for London North Centre.

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Fragiskatos said that despite the rain, Londoners came out to celebrate because of their deep sense of pride in the Canada that they all share.

He added that in the next 150 years, Canada will look to overcome the failures of the past by welcoming new Canadian citizens.

“This is what the Canadian mosaic is about — we’ve built a country together for the past 150 years, [and] the next 150 [will be] more prosperous as we welcome in more citizens to the country.”

Fragiskatos explained what he feels makes the citizenship ceremony so special.

“You can feel the tremendous pride from new Canadians — you can sense it in their eyes,” he said. “There was a woman who was waiting five years to become a citizen — some even longer.

“You can really feel that sense of hope, the feeling of those looking forward to building a new life. That sense of hope is really what the idea of Canada is.”

READ MORE: Canadian regains citizenship stripped by dated law

Festivities will take place at Harris Park for the rest of the evening.

“The ceremony today brought a tear to my eye, because these people have been living here for years, building their families, and are finally becoming a citizen of Canada,” said Sarah Smith, a local musician who will be performing on the new Harris Park stage later this evening.

Smith will be performing songs from her new album and also sang the national anthem to close the citizenship ceremony.

“[Canada] means unity, freedom, sharing love with other people who are on this planet for all the same reasons. It’s really special to be a part of,” she said.

Though the weather has been wet, the Canada Day fireworks show is still set to start later tonight at dusk.


© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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