The Ottawa Police Service held its fifth annual diversity celebration on Thursday, which included a citizenship ceremony that welcomed 27 new Canadian citizens in advance of Canada’s 152 anniversary.
“The increasing number of diverse communities is one of the things that makes Ottawa special,” said Coun. Diane Deans, chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board.
“We would want to take the opportunity to celebrate that and acknowledge the contributions made by each community,” she said as she welcomed the new Canadians.
It was an auspicious moment for the adults and children being sworn in, especially for those who received their citizenship with their family.
“[I]t’s like a dream come true and I am looking forward to the future,” said Gregory Herrick Lobo.
Lobo was one of the adults receiving their citizenship at the ceremony. Emigrating from Mumbai, Lobo settled in Canada in 2014.
Moving to a foreign land and adapting to a new lifestyle was not without its challenges for Lobo.
“I was a banker back home and I worked in a bank for nearly 25 years and then coming here and starting a job search all over, that was a challenge,” he said.
For others such as Nadine Lambie, Canadian citizenship represents a fresh start.
“It feels light, feels like I’m finally free,” said Lambie.
The celebration embraced a diverse range of backgrounds, including new Canadians from the Ivory Coast, India, Trinidad and Tobago, among others.