Tomorrow is a day Leonardo Hernandez has been anxiously awaiting for a long time. The 37-year-old electrical engineer, who immigrated to Canada seven years ago in search of a better life, will finally become a Canadian citizen.

“I always dreamed of receiving my citizenship on July the first,” he says. “For me, it’s the highest honour I can receive.”

At 11 a.m., Hernandez will stand alongside 40 other people from around the world who have chosen to make Canada their home and accept the rights and responsibilities of becoming a Canadian citizen during a special Canada Day ceremony at Black Creek Pioneer Village
“When I first visited Canada in 1999, I found a very progressive and diverse country where you’re allowed to pursue and achieve your goals,” explains the native of Mexico City.

“Undoubtedly, the kind of work that I do here in Canada is completely unavailable in Mexico, or the rest of Latin America.”

During the seven years he has lived in Canada, first in Toronto, then in Windsor, where he developed test sequences for the automotive industry, and now back in Toronto, Hernandez has continued to move up the ladder.

Today, he works in a managerial role for a multinational technology company training other engineers. “I have had the chance to develop my career and see new technology, which I would never have had the chance to do in Mexico,” says Hernandez. “I also had the chance to work on a project that was going to create jobs in the future, and it happened,” he states proudly.

Accompanying him to tomorrow’s citizenship ceremony will be his wife, Laura, a graphic designer and athlete, who emigrated from Mexico two years ago after she and Hernandez married, and her parents, who are visiting.

Among the many attributes that drew him to Canada, Hernandez cites the country’s overall “peacefulness,” and “respect” for others. “My plans for the future are to stay here, raise a family, contribute to my community and be actively involved in politics,” says the consummate gentleman.

“To understand that you can live with several communities and live in peace altogether is most important for me.”