Our ceremony took place on Canada Day 2001 in Trenton, Ontario. It was a beautiful day.
There were a couple of hundred of us taking the oath that day. Dozens of different nationalities. Some were like us and had immigrated recently, others had been here decades.
The ceremony was presided over by Roy Bonisteel. We had to swear that since arriving as landed immigrants we had committed no crimes and that we fully understood the oath we were about to take. Judge Bonisteel is quite imposing. Believe me no one would lie to that man, I reckon he can see right through you.
Once everyone had been checked and processed it was time for the swearing of the oath. It was very touching. Judge Bonisteel gave a lovely speech about our rights and responsibilities and encouraged us all to be involved in our country, our communities, our government.
The only thing I found to be slightly odd as a British subject was the fact that we do not swear allegience to our country - Canada - but rather to the Queen. I am not sure why it bothered me but for some reason, it did. Not that I have anything against the old bird, in fact I think she is essential to the UK especially when her family sometimes let her down, and I like the whole concept of the monarchy in some ways.... but it's not like she noticed that we had left the UK. We have not had a single Christmas card from Betty or Phil the Greek since we got here. OK OK we weren't on their list before either :o)
We were given our ceremonial papers, some lovely pins and other gifts and also cake and drinks. There was a Mountie as a witness and also a bagpiper. They really made us all feel very special.
We now have our citizenship cards and have Canadian passports. It has been quite the journey, not cheap financially nor emotionally, but we feel very blessed to be here and to be Canadians. If you are considering immigrating I can only say that for us it was the best decision we ever made. If you are already here as an immigrant I also recommend taking the citizenship test and oath. I can't really explain why it feels different but it does. I guess the nearest I can equate it to is getting married. Is it just a piece of paper? A good reason for a nice dress and a party? Does it matter if you promise officially or not? To those of you who have opted to marry rather than simply cohabit, you will know what I mean. It is intangible but there is a difference.
Whatever you decide I wish you the best.