Marking Canada's 150th anniversary, hundreds sworn in as new citizens at U of T's Convocation Hall

Toronto--In the University of Toronto hall where students take their first steps as graduates, about 500 people from around the world started a new chapter in their lives as Canadian citizens.

People of all ages and backgrounds filled Convocation Hall on U of T’s downtown Toronto campus on Saturday to take the oath of citizenship and sing the national anthem.

One of their first acts as citizens was to receive a warm welcome from a platform party that included U of T President Meric Gertler, federal Science Minister and alumna Kirsty Duncan, Chair of U of T's Governing Council Claire Kennedy, Chancellor Michael Wilson, Chancellor Emerita Vivienne Poy and University College Principal Donald Ainslie, who is also the chair of U of T's sesquicentennial committee.

President Gertler thanked those acquiring citizenship for coming to Canada – and for enriching the country with their ideas and traditions.

“The news reminds us on a daily basis of how fortunate we are to live in Canada,” he told the audience, “but on this day we are also reminded of how fortunate we are that Canada continues to attract wonderful people from around the world, people who want to help strengthen our institutions, enrich our multicultural fabric and defend our values as Canadians.”

Duncan, who before taking office taught medical geography at U of T Scarborough and corporate responsibility at the Rotman School of Management, greeted the newest members of  “our Canadian family.”

“Most of us, our families come from elsewhere,” she said, “and they have built this country, and you will build this country. You are already building this country.”

Those in attendance waved mini Canadian flags and wore Maple Leaf pins on their lapels. The 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation made the already special occasion even more momentous. Saturday's citizenship ceremony was the culmination of a series of Canada 150 events at U of T throughout the year.