Nova Scotia chocolate maker Tareq Hadhad becomes Canadian citizen
Ceremony in Halifax welcomes former Syrian refugee and 48 other new Canadian citizens
January 16, 2020, 3:28 pm ASTLast Updated: January 16, 2020, 3:28 pm
Forty-nine people from 14 different countries were granted their Canadian citizenship Wednesday morning in an hour-long ceremony at Pier 21 in Halifax.
Among them was entrepreneur Tareq Hadhad. In December of 2015, Hadhad arrived in Antigonish, N.S., as a refugee fleeing the conflict in Syria after his family’s chocolate factory was destroyed in a bombing.
Since arriving in Canada Hadhad and his family have established Peace by Chocolate, a thriving chocolate company in Antigonish.
Just a few months after founding their new business in early 2016, Peace by Chocolate donated a month’s profit to the Red Cross in support of those fleeing the Fort McMurray wildfires in Alberta, where approximately 2,400 homes were destroyed.
In December 2019, Hadhad released a video to tell his 8,000 Twitter followers that he scored 100 per cent on his Canadian citizenship test. The video has since been viewed over 500,000 times on Twitter alone.
On Wednesday morning Hadhad, along with 48 others, was granted his citizenship in a public citizenship ceremony at Pier 21.
The ceremony was presided over by citizenship Judge Joan Mahoney, who welcomed the new Canadians.
“Each of you is different, and each of you possesses unique talents that will help boost our country. Today is the beginning of a new journey for you — your very first day as Canadian citizens,” Mahoney said.
“It’s amazing,” said Hadhad in an interview after the ceremony. “I can’t really describe my emotions right now. I feel that I’m Canadian. I feel that I’m free. I feel that I belong. And I feel that I’m so proud to be part of this big family.”
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil was present at the ceremony. In his speech, he encouraged the new Canadians to share their culture and traditions with the rest of Canada.
“Your role as a Canadian, as a Nova Scotian, is to continue to remind all of us that we have a story that’s not fully written,” McNeil said. “Make sure that your heritage, your ancestors, your culture, gets written on those pages as we move forward.”
Hadhad told reporters that his family members are also in the process of obtaining their Canadian citizenship.
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