It was a sea of red and white as NorQuest students crammed into the school’s Westmount campus auditorium to celebrate Canada Day on Friday.
Like Genet Weldemaryam, many of the students were celebrating our nation’s birthday for the very first time.
Weldemaryam moved from Ethiopia with her husband to Edmonton just two months ago.
“I am so happy … to be here and have a more happy and successful life. I love Canada. I love Canada so much. I am happy for today,” she said, beaming when asked how it felt to celebrate Canada Day for the first time.
Dignitaries, including Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and Edmonton-Leduc MP James Rajotte, welcomed the students at the annual NorQuest Canada Day celebrations and said it is often new Canadians who realize the true meaning of Canada Day.
“For those of us born here, we probably don’t reflect on what it means to be Canadian as often as you do. No matter how prepared you think you are, it’s never easy to relocate, especially to a new country,” said Edmonton-Glenora MLA and Minister of Culture Heather Klimchuk.
Weldemaryam doesn’t need reminding.
“It’s so amazing. I am very happy. It is the best place in all the world,” said Weldemaryam.