On a beautiful Friday afternoon in the middle of summer, hundreds of Canadians and immigrants came together to celebrate their shared love for Hamilton and how it is shaped and enriched by newcomers. Organized by the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC), and hosted at Hamilton City Hall on July 27, the city’s first Newcomer Day featured entertainment, food, and family activities, including storytelling, ping pong, and dancing with Salsa Soul Productions.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger greeted a large and growing lunchtime crowd at the Opening Ceremony and noted that he himself is an immigrant to Canada:
“Hamilton is a city with a long history of welcoming all who are looking to build a new life…. By providing Hamilton’s newest residents with the support needed to call Hamilton home, we all benefit from their contributions to our economy, and the enrichment of our cultural life.”
A highlight of the ceremony was the jazzy rendition of “O Canada” performed by singer Lauren Mikayla, with Mike Rajczak on the drums. Both musicians are part of the Hamilton reggae group Riddim Riders.
Inside City Hall, more than 30 service providers made connections and promoted their services, including employment training, business start-up supports, and refugee-focused healthcare. The day also featured free workshop on a variety of topics such as housing rights and financial wellness.
At the citizenship ceremony held in Council Chambers, members of the public packed the room to witness 40 individuals become Canadian citizens.
HIPC is a community table that brings together key local organizations with the goal of creating welcoming community and a seamless settlement experience for newcomers. It is funded by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The power of community was evident in the incredible turnout across the afternoon, including more than 80 volunteers. Thank you!
Sarah Wayland is the Senior Project Manager for the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. You can learn more about HIPC at hamiltonimmigration.ca, and please follow us on Twitter! @hipcHamilton