Fifty-three new Canadians were all smiles on Thursday at a citizenship ceremony in Edmonton.

O Canada was proudly sung and the citizenship oath happily recited inside the Citadel Theatre where friends and families of the newest citizens celebrated.

It was also a special occasion for the man leading the ceremony with Judge Major Claude Villeneuve marking the 16,000th citizen he has personally sworn in. 

“Together we are better and we are stronger”, he announced

The Martinez family from Mexico waved mini maple leaf flags and posed with a Mountie in red serge after taking their oaths.

Luis and Maria moved to Edmonton 13 years ago with their sons Luis Jr. and Edson.

Maria says their wait to become citizens was worth it. 

“It has been a long journey for us but I’m really proud...we want a better life for them, it’s a safe place.”

The special ceremony was held by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

Martinez Family