June 24, 2015 — TORONTO — Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and Toronto FC Community Ambassador Dwayne De Rosario personally welcomed 30 of Canada’s newest citizens from 16 countries during a special citizenship ceremony at BMO Field today, in advance of tonight’s Major League Soccer game.
Family and friends watched on from the stands as the moving citizenship ceremony played out at field level between the home and away benches. Minister Alexander delivered a speech welcoming Canada’s newest citizens while Citizenship Judge Angelo Persichilli presided over the ceremony. Dwayne De Rosario, the all-time leading scorer for Toronto FC and the Canadian National Team, provided welcoming remarks on behalf of Toronto FC.
At the ceremony, Alexander emphasized the importance of soccer in bringing together individuals of different cultures. Tonight, these new citizens will return to the field to proudly carry the Canadian flag during the National Anthem before Toronto FC takes on Canadian rival, the Montreal Impact at BMO Field.
- 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.
- 2015 is the Year of Sport in Canada, and its overarching theme is “Canada: A Leading Sport Nation.”
“As Canadians, we welcome and are proud of the growing role soccer plays in uniting individuals and communities. That is why it is so moving to welcome these new members of the Canadian family together with Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC and here at BMO Field, which today is truly a field of dreams for these new Canadians. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to this country’s 30 newest citizens.”
Chris Alexander, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister
“My parents immigrated to Canada from Guyana, so I can appreciate what an incredible day this is for each new citizen and their family. Playing for Canada’s National Team gave me the opportunity to take the pitch with players from all over the world and I’m very proud that 30 new citizens took their oath of citizenship at Canada’s National Soccer Stadium, BMO Field. I’m also excited that these new citizens have the chance to watch the Toronto FC match tonight and enjoy the international sport that brings people from so many different nations together.”
Dwayne De Rosario, Community Ambassador of the Toronto FC.