Tareq Hadhad, Syrian Refugee Chocolate Maker, Becomes Canadian Citizen

HALIFAX — A Nova Scotia chocolate maker who came to Canada as a Syrian refugee has become a Canadian citizen.

Tareq Hadhad, the founder of Peace by Chocolate in Antigonish, N.S., took part in a special citizenship ceremony Wednesday in Halifax.

“It’s amazing,” he said after the ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

“I feel that I’m Canadian. I feel that I’m free. I feel that I belong. And I feel that I am so proud to be part of this big family of 37 million Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

Hadhad’s family had made chocolates in Syria for more than 20 years, but their factory was destroyed in a bombing that forced them to leave the country in 2012.

Peace by Chocolate opened for business in 2016 and now ships its confections around the world. The company employs locals in Antigonish and newcomers to Canada.

Hadhad said Canadians are respected around the world for “values that stand for peace, for love, for kindness, for inclusion, for welcome, for friendliness, for social justice.

“I couldn’t be more honoured.”

Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told the crowd that Hadhad and his family were living in a refugee camp in Lebanon before they moved to Canada in 2015 and 2016.

“They were unsure of their safety and their future, but they made it here to Canada,” Mendicino said. “And not only are they safe, they are thriving.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his congratulations to Hadhad on Wednesday. 

Hadhad wrote his citizenship test last month and says he passed with a perfect score.

The rest of his family is expected to receive their citizenship later this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 15, 2020.

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