Teary eyes were the order of the day on Aug. 17 during an emotional ceremony at Cupids welcoming 30 new Canadian citizens who were granted their Canadian Citizenship papers before a capacity crowd gathered at the Cupid's Legacy Centre.
Cupids Mayor Harold Ackerman, in his welcoming remarks noted that by coincidence back in 1610 thirty-plus sailors led by English explorer John Guy entered Cupid's harbour for the first time setting the course for the establishment of what was and still is English Canada's birthplace.
A number of officials present
The ceremony on Sunday afternoon included participation by two Federal Judges from Nova Scotia, a member of the RCMP, Mayor Harold Ackerman, a representative from the provincial government and from the Cupids Heritage Society including chairman Roy Dawe.
A number of meaningful speeches were delivered by the honourable guests while spectators in attendance welcomed our new citizens with loud and sustained applause.As a welcome to our new citizens, gifts from our Federal Government were handed out. Each were presented with their long awaited Canadian Citizenship documents and special gifts including a one year free pass to our many national parks and museums in Canada and discount-certificates for travel anywhere in Canada.
Canadian flag hoisted
Following the official swearing ins a very moving ceremony took place across from the Legacy Centre. On cue from Ackerman and Dawe, they sang the anthem as they hoisted a huge Canadian flag to the top of the towering flag pole overlooking the historic harbour. There were tears of joy from a number of our new Canadians. I can honestly say that flag raising ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I ever witnessed.
A chat with our new Canadians
During a meet and greet reception that followed where a large crowd of well wishers had gathered, I had the opportunity and pleasure to chat with three of our new Canadians. Perhaps the most excited one I talked with was a lady from Beijing, China. This young woman left a city of over 21 million people to settle in St.John's with a population of about 140,000. Quite a big step but a leap of faith and a leap of joy for her. She was beaming as she watched the big flag being raised and afterwards posing for her picture with the Judges and the red suited RCMP officer.
A flee from Iraq
During coffee break I spoke to a member of a family of four who came here from Iraq. They are so blessed to live in this peaceful country far away from the violence and the danger of everyday life in a wartorn part of the world. She spoke of the friendliness of our Newfoundland people. "It's like one big happy family here", she said. "We love it and we are glad and blessed to be here."
In closing I would like to congratulate all involved for a wonderful ceremony, especially Mayor Harold Ackerman and his committee who planned and organized the accommodations at the beautiful Legacy Centre for our special guests and our new Canadians.
It is nice once in a while to be reminded how very fortunate we are to live in freedom and peace in this great country of ours Canada. It is the greatest country on earth and I don't have to look too far for someone to second that for sure.
Welcome to all our new Canadians.
— Bill Westcott lives and writes in Clarke's Beach.