Party in the GT-eh

Toronto may have been a bit smellier than normal this Canada Day, butthat didn’t stop crowds from coming out in droves yesterday tocelebrate our nation’s 142nd birthday.

Toronto may have been a bit smellier than normal this Canada Day, but that didn’t stop crowds from coming out in droves yesterday to celebrate our nation’s 142nd birthday.

And despite the cancellation of the city’s official celebrations — due to a strike by city workers — any bruised civic pride seemed to have been swept under hats and clothing emblazoned with red maple leafs, for just one day at least.

From the Toronto Zoo to Harbourfront Centre to Black Creek Pioneer Village, not to mention countless restaurant patios and backyards, Canadians of every creed and culture revelled in the chance to share time with family and friends.

For many, the day marked a turning point and the dawn of a new beginning. All five members of the Shteiman family — dad Alexander, 38, mom Inessa, 36, daughter Karina, 16, son Ilan, 13, and son Ron, 6 — who came to Canada from Israel four years ago, were sworn in as Canadian citizens at Queen’s Park.

“I feel like we’ve become citizens of the world,” said a beaming Karina.

“It’s remarkable because now you get to play hockey like a Canadian,” Ilan chimed in.

“Today is like everybody’s birthday,” said Kurbel Estifanos, 7, who sat by the fountain at Nathan Phillips Square. Kurbel was joined by his brother, Natnael, 8, sister, Lidia, 12, and mom, Hareghu Ogbagiorgis, 33.

“In this country, you can be who you want to be and nobody will hold you back,” said Ogbagiorgis, who came to Canada 14 years ago from Eritrea. “It’s a peaceful country with freedom. It’s great to celebrate that.”