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Residents of Yellowknife became citizens of Canada when they took their oaths on July 1 to kickstart Canada Day.

Welcome aboard

Dorothy Westerman
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 06/05) - Canadian citizenship was bestowed upon 54 immigrants in Yellowknife July 1.

The oath made it official for Annellen Parrocha, but she had already adopted Canada as her homeland.

It was love that made Theresa Paul from Minnesota become a Canadian citizen to be with a fine Yellowknife gent.

"I've been here for almost five years now," Parrocha, from the Philippines, said after the ceremony at City Hall.

"People here are nice to deal with. They welcome you and have a warm heart. That made the decision easy to become a Canadian citizen," she said.

For Theresa Paul, it took eight years to work through the process of changing citizenship, but she knew what she wanted and why.

"It was love," she said. "I met my husband in Las Vegas; we had a long distance relationship for a year and then I came up here," said Paul, originally from Duluth, Minnesota.

Citizenship Judge Michel Simard of Ottawa said the annual July 1 ceremony "is probably one of the best showcases our Canadian government could put together.

"It leaves good memories to all of those who pass through the process."

Raquel David and Roderick Macusi, both from the Philippines, were elated.

"My parents are here," David said of the momentous occasion.

'You've come a long way'

Macusi joins his family, who are also Canadian citizens.

"But I'll miss my friends and some of my relatives," he said.

Yellowknife mayor Gord Van Tighem welcomed Yellowknife's newest citizens.

"You've come a long way, worked hard and now you are our newest citizens," he said.

"A lot of us that were born here forget about our country and how nice it is. Please take the time today and over the next few weeks to say why you chose Canada."

After taking the oath of citizenship, Juliet Vinasoy of the Philippines, said she was proud to choose Canada.

"It is a very peaceful and kind country and friendly," Vinasoy said.

Premier Joe Handley welcomed the new citizens, along with MP Ethel Blondin-Andrew, Commissioner Tony Whitford and Fred Koe, president of the Celebrate Canada Committee.

"I know it was maybe the most important decision you made in your life,"Handley said.

"I saw tears in some eyes, but a lot of very, very proud people. Proud of the country you came from and proud of your new position as Canadians.

"We're equally proud of you. I believe you could not have made a better choice for yourselves."