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Nearly 100 newcomers take Oath of Citizenship at U of T Scarborough

Kean Taylor, joined by son Kayden, wife Moya, UTSC Principal Bruce Kidd and The Hon. David Onley, was officially sworn in as a Canadian citizen at U of T Scarborough on Feb. 25. (Photo by Ken Jones)

Sulaiman Malang came to Canada looking for a better life. 

Originally from Afghanistan, he fled to Russia at age 16 before coming to Canada as a refugee. He was attracted to Canada because of its reputation as a free and safe place to live, one filled with hope and opportunities for him and his young family. 

Malang was one of 95 newcomers to take an Oath of Citizenship during a special ceremony by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada held at U of T Scarborough’s Meeting Place on Feb. 25.

“This is a big day for me,” said the father of two who lives in Scarborough. “This is the start of a new life and a new journey. In many ways it’s the most important day of my life.”

The journey and the story of his life from the time he left Afghanistan before arriving in Canada was a difficult one, but he is optimistic for his family’s future. “My children are so lucky to be born in Canada. The future here is bright.” 

This sentiment was echoed by Scarborough’s Taylor family, as Jamaican-born Kean Taylor received his citizenship and was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Moya, and their two-month-old son, Kayden.

“When you come here you have the opportunity to give your family a better life,” he said. “Where we’re from, there’s only so far you can go in terms of achievement. Being here, there’s endless opportunities.”

Taylor has been living in Canada since 2011 and his wife joined him in 2014 with their now seven-year-old son, Kyle. “It’s exciting,” said Moya. “I’m happy and it allows us to be together [as a family].” The Taylors are grateful for the opportunities Canada has afforded Kyle to pursue his interests, including arts programs that aren’t available in Jamaica.

A total of 95 newcomers representing 22 countries took the Oath of Canadian Citizenship with Presiding Bruce Kidd, O.C., U of T Vice President and Principal for the campus. Kidd spoke to the importance of diversity and public education.

“Diversity is a hallmark of our country and it’s one of our great strengths. It’s also a strength of UTSC, where we like to say that diversity fuels innovation,” says Kidd.  

Remarking on the emotional journey many in the room have taken to become citizens, he reflected of his own experience of having family members become Canadians and on the values that make Canada a desirable country to live.

“I am very proud of the fact we are hosting this ceremony at UTSC. In Canada we pride ourselves on the importance of education, particularly public education. Public education brings people together despite their backgrounds, despite their varied experiences, to give all a chance to excel, realize their dreams and contribute to making a better Canada and a better world.”

The Honourable David Onley, Ontario's 28th Lieutenant Governor, UTSC alumnus, and now a political science lecturer at the campus, spoke about the pride of citizenship he experienced while traveling across Canada during his time as vice regal.

“What touched me the most when I travelled was the inherent goodwill of Canadians. Wherever I went, I experienced true enthusiasm and have seen the spirit of citizenship that makes our communities very special. The pride in our communities runs quiet but deep,” he says.

After the Oath of Citizenship, the citizens received certificates and UTSC’s student-formed quartet, Quartet Chroma, played a rendition of O Canada.

© University of Toronto Scarborough