TORONTO, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ - One hundred new citizens from 58 countries were sworn in as new Canadians today at a special sport-themed citizenship ceremony that kicked off the 100-day countdown to the TORONTO 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games.
Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander personally welcomed today's newest citizens at the ceremony, which took place at the new YMCA facility at the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes' Village in Toronto. At the ceremony, Alexander emphasized the importance of sport in bringing together individuals of different cultures .
The new citizens attended a reception hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, and were honoured at TORONTO 2015's official 100-day countdown reception, which featured speeches by Olympian Catriona Le May Doan and other dignitaries.
One hundred days from now, Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe will host the TORONTO 2015 Pan and Parapan American Games, one of the largest multisport events ever held in Canada. Through its contributions to the Federal Cultural Strategy, the Government of Canada is helping promote Canadian culture and heritage, while showcasing Canadian values and enhancing engagement in the Americas.
- In 2014, 3,121 citizenship ceremonies were held across Canada, where more than 262,000 new citizens were welcomed - this is more new Canadians than in any year in Canada's history and more than double the number from 2013.
- Canada's Governor General proclaimed that 2015 is the Year of Sport in Canada, and its overarching theme is "Canada: A Leading Sport Nation."
- The Pan American Games will be held July 10-26, 2015 and the Parapan American Games will take place August 7-15, 2015.
- The TORONTO 2015 Games will be one of the largest multisport events ever hosted in Canada and will gather more than 10,000 athletes, coaches and officials from across the Americas.
"As Canadians, we are proud of the role sport plays in bringing individuals together and achieving unity in our diversity. Today, as we continue to celebrate Canada's Year of Sport, we are also excited to begin the 100-day countdown to the Pan and Parapan American Games. That is why it is so moving to welcome these new members of the Canadian family at such an important community venue, which will see individuals from across the Americas come together in sport later this year. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to this country's 100 newest citizens."
Chris Alexander, Canada's Citizenship and Immigration Minister
"The Institute for Canadian Citizenship works with Citizenship and Immigration Canada to bring these special ceremonies into communities across the country. Connecting today's ceremony to the Pan Am celebrations complements the findings of our 2014 study, Playing together — new citizens, sports and belonging. It revealed sports are a natural and universal connection point for new citizens, more welcoming than many other social structures. New citizens love cheering for Team Canada, and today we celebrated a major milestone for new citizens and the city of Toronto."
Charlie Foran, Institute for Canadian Citizenship CEO
"Welcoming new citizens reflects the values of diversity and inclusion that the Games represent. Soon, all Canadians will have the chance to cheer for Team Canada on home soil, and after the Games, a lasting legacy of sports venues will provide places where children can play and communities can connect."
Saӓd Rafi, CEO, TO2015
News Release - 2015 Proclaimed the Year of Sport in Canada
CIC commitments to the Pan Am Federal Cultural Strategy
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Photos of Minister Alexander available at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/index.asp
Building a stronger Canada: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) strengthens Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity, helping ensure Canadian safety and security while managing one of the largest and most generous immigration programs in the world.
SOURCE Citizenship and Immigration Canada
For further information: Contacts, Minister's Office, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 613-954-1064; Media Relations, Communications Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 613-952-1650, [email protected]