Canadian History for Kids!
Sketches of Canada for January 3rd!

Canadian History for Kids: Canadian Citizenship Ceremony

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at the first Canadian citizenship ceremony held in Ottawa, in 1947.

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfill my duties as a Canadian citizen.

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King became the first Canadian citizen by taking the above oath at the first citizenship ceremony, which was held on January 3, 1947 at the Supreme Court building, in Ottawa. Prime Minister Mackenzie King received certificate 0001.

Liberal Cabinet Minister Paul Martin Sr. first recognized the need for a Canadian Citizenship during World War II. During a visit to the military cemetery in Dieppe France he noted the different nationalities on the names of the crosses of the Canadian soldiers. It was his dream to have a law that defined what a Canadian citizen was. On October 22, 1945, he spoke to the House of Commons about the Canadian Citizenship Act.

Canada became the first Commonwealth country to gain its own citizenship legislation in 1946 with the enactment of the Canadian Citizenship Act 1946, which took effect on January 1, 1947.

At the ceremony on January 3, 1947, Chief Justice Thibaudeau Rinfret presented 26 people with the first Canadian citizenship certificates speaking in both English and French. Citizenship candidates sat on benches at the front of the room in the Great Chamber. The ceremony was broadcasted nationally on radio and cameras took footage.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive continues with photographer Yousuf Karsh, a British subject born in Armenia in 1908, also received his citizenship. He received Canadian Citizenship Certificate 0010. His 1941 captivating photograph, the Roaring Lion, of a scowling Winston Churchill, made him one of the most famous photographers in the world.

The bells of the Peace Tower rang out as the new Canadian Citizens and their guests left the ceremony.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!
 

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