Meet CAP Member Bilal El Houri

CAP member Bilal received his citizenship only a few weeks ago. We reached out to Bilal after he received hundreds of comments on his Reddit post about the Cultural Access Pass and becoming a Canadian citizen. Here’s Bilal’s Spotlight, in his own words.

My name is Bilal El Houri. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon, but moved to Canada in June of 2012 after living for 5 years in Dubai. I didn’t feel at “home” in the Middle East so I wanted to move to a country where I feel that I belong. My goals when I moved were mainly to be part of a community and start building roots.

After I moved to Canada, I lived in Edmonton for 3 years. On the very first time I left Canada for a vacation, when I came back to the Edmonton airport, the passport officer said to me “welcome home!”, that was a moment that I will never forget, it made me fall in love with Canada and its people.

I became a citizen in February 2018. My life changed drastically since I now really feel “at home” and feel that I belong. I’m definitely looking forward to voting!

In spring/summer times I like to spend my time outdoors and hiking in Ontario. I also like film photography and improv. I’ve only been to ROM with [my Cultural Access Pass] but I’m planning to explore more places when the weather gets better. Almost all of my Canadian friends were jealous after I told them what [the Cultural Access Pass] was, since they’re born here [in Canada]!

[Cultural places] open our minds and hearts to different cultures and histories, we probably never have exposure to them if it weren’t for cultural places. [As a new Canadian], these places help me understand and learn Canada’s culture and history.

About CAP: For nearly 10 years, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) has delivered the Cultural Access Pass (CAP), an innovative, best-in-class program that gives new citizens access to Canadian culture. It’s time to shift CAP to the digital age. Support the ICC.

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