For Monazza Makhdoom, the promise of a different life is what brought her to Canada five years ago.
Living in Pakistan at the time, the mother of three moved half way around the world because she was seeking a better future for herself and her kids.
“I immigrated from Pakistan for many reasons, but primarily for the freedom Canadians enjoy,” Makhdoom said. “I wanted to be comfortable and to be able to do whatever I wanted to do,” she said. “I came for the future of my children, which I feel is more secure here in Canada.”
Makhdoom was one of 52 people from 24 countries sworn in a Canada's newest citizens on Aug. 17. The ceremony — one of 75 such events that happen throughout the year from coast to coast — was held at Science North.
She said she's happy and proud to be part of this great nation.
“It's difficult to put it into words, but it's really a wonderful feeling,” she said.
Her children are already Canadian citizens. They attend McLeod Public School. She works for a company out of NORCAT, making equipment for underground mining.
The differences between her homeland and Canada are like comparing the North Pole to the South Pole, she said.
“It's different in every aspect,” she said. “In Pakistan, I always wanted the security and comfort, but we weren't able to have that. Here, we're able to be ourselves and to achieve what we want. I hope I'm able to fulfill all my responsibilities and contribute in a positive and meaningful way.”
Similarly, the Munasingh family moved from Sri Lanka 12 years ago, seeking a better future for themselves.
Ananda Munasingh, his wife, Sawithree, and his two sons, Nirangu and Lashan, have been living in Greater Sudbury since then. They were all sworn in as Canadian citizens in the Aug. 17 ceremony.
“It's great to be a Canadian citizen after 12 years,” Nirangu said, on behalf of his family. “It's a wonderful opportunity and a proud moment for us.”
The biggest difference between the two countries?
“Winter,” said Ananda jokingly. “We didn't have winter in Sri Lanka. Here, we do.”
Cold weather aside, the transition to Canada was an easy one, Nirangu said.
“We had a lot of family here, and the living conditions here are much better,” he said. “Sudbury is such a great community. It's quiet, it's peaceful, and everyone respects one another. We have great neighbours, and we are able to do so much here.”
Both Nirangu and Ananda have established their own businesses in the city. Lashan recently graduated from university with a degree in chemical engineering.
“The opportunities, and what the government gives you to accomplish them, is what brings people to Canada,” Nirangu said. “If you have a dream, it's so much easier to go after it here.”
Alykhan Haji, director of the ceremonies program for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, said this ceremony represents such an important day in the lives of new Canadians.
“That's why it's so important for us to recognize and celebrate this achievement,” he said.
Prior to the swearing in ceremony, round table discussions were held, where the would-be Canadians shared their journeys to citizenship.
“It's unique to the ICC, and it's an opportunity for them to share their stories and reflect on what it means to them, as well as to talk about their hopes and aspirations as Canadian citizens,” Haji said.
Greater Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen officiated the ceremony. He congratulated all 52 new Canadians in taking the final step to becoming a citizen.
“It is my privilege to welcome you,” he said. “This country has been enriched by generations of people who have come from all over the world. I offer you my heartfelt congratulations, and thank you for choosing Canada.”