For Toronto Newcomer Day, a South African man recollects his Canadian citizenship ceremony

Wednesday, Could 25, marks the eighth annual Toronto Newcomer Day, which welcomes latest transplants to the town and is open to all. Festivities run from 10 a.m. to three p.m. at Nathan Phillips Sq. and can characteristic a variety of enjoyable and informative actions, together with a citizenship ceremony, excursions of Metropolis Corridor, origami, henna artwork, miniature tipi-making and a mock voting train to organize for the upcoming elections.

The occasion’s aim is to make newcomers really feel at house and included in Toronto’s numerous group, in addition to to tell them of assets that exist to assist them of their new life.

Russ Wener, photographed by the Star along with his brother Daniel in 1986, remembers boarding a aircraft from South Africa to Canada as a small little one. His dad and mom then buckled him into his seat and advised him, “The journey begins now to our new life!”

Wener was born in Cape City, South Africa, the place he lived till he was about 4. “I bear in mind little bits and items,” he says. “Cape City is an exquisite metropolis, with among the most lovely seashores and wonderful coastlines on the earth.” However when Wener landed in Canada and was handed just a little Maple Leaf flag, he thought to himself, “That is actually neat! That is Toronto. That is Canada. That is my house now.”

Three years later, Wener and his brother Daniel obtained their Canadian citizenship papers from Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander. Wener remembers Alexander as “a very nice man” and the ceremony’s venue, Casa Loma, as a really particular place. “I used to be fascinated with the constructing itself and the historical past it held.”

Within the years between arriving in Canada and changing into a citizen, Wener had enrolled at school and totally acclimatised to his new nation. “Taking the oath,” he says, “was the icing on the cake.”

Nonetheless, Wener admits that becoming in wasn’t all the time simple, particularly throughout his teen years, when he usually felt like an outsider. It wasn’t till he was 40 that he was recognized with autism. “I had no concept I had (it),” he says, “I simply knew I used to be completely different.”

“If you find yourself an outcast, in junior excessive and highschool, you aren’t a part of a bunch, so that you don’t have a way of belonging,” he says, including that he was teased and bullied. “Individuals must smarten up, to begin accepting individuals, even when they’re completely different.”

Immediately, Russ is fortunately married with two younger youngsters. His message to newcomers or anybody who appears like they don’t belong: “Cling in there, issues will get higher. Know you might have coronary heart, spirit. Some individuals attempt to break it, however you may’t allow them to.

“If you find yourself within the pitch darkish,” he provides, “it’s as much as you to seek out the braveness to strike a match.”



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