On Sunday, September 10, staff from the St.Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership joined MP Karen Vecchio and MPP Jeff Yurek for Canada 150 Celebrations: a celebration of our veterans, volunteers, community leaders, and newcomers. Beginning with a Strawberry Social for Veterans at 12:00pm, the event continued throughout the afternoon until 5:00pm.

STELIP’s Petrusia Hontar (2nd from left) and Tom Sproat (2nd from right) with MPP Jeff Yurek and MP Karen Vecchio

At 2:00pm, STELIP project coordinator Petrusia Hontar and Major Blair Ashford of the Canadian Armed Forces led a citizenship reaffirmation ceremony, offering a chance for the community to recognize newcomers in the area who have achieved citizenship in the past year, as well as recite the oath of citizenship themselves–something most in attendance had never done having been born in Canada. The ceremony concluded with a rousing singalong of the national anthem led by St.Thomas resident Tony D’Costa.

The reaffirmation ceremony was followed by the main event of the afternoon: the Canada 150 Presentation of Certificates of Appreciation. Following along with the national celebration of Canada’s 150 year anniversary, MP Karen Vecchio and MPP Jeff Yurek handed out 150 certificates to nominated members, groups and organizations in St.Thomas and Elgin County in recognition of their work in the community. STELIP’s Petrusia Hontar received an individual award for her community involvement, while STELIP itself was also recognized as an organization for its work in Elgin County and St.Thomas. We are honored to be included among such deserving winners and renew our commitment to the type of work that earned us recognition in the first place.

It was a wonderful event and STELIP thanks both MP Karen Vecchio and MPP Jeff Yurek for organizing the day and allowing us to participate!