Gloria Henderson waited a long time to become a Canadian citizen

Published on March 20, 2017

Gloria Henderson said she crammed for three straight weeks prior to writing her citizenship test in early February. Officials discourage people from disclosing what the test actually encompasses but Henderson said it covers a wide range of information pertaining to Canada and had she not studied so hard, she doubts she would have passed.

©Harry Sullivan/TC Media

Sometimes, all you really need is a little push from a “cannon ball.”

So it was for Gloria Henderson who finally decided to follow through and apply for Canadian citizenship after living in the country almost 24 years.

Henderson, an American who grew up in Maine, is married to Jim Henderson of JD Henderson Plumbing.

The couple met in Florida and as she laughingly explained, “He hit me over the head, dragged me back here to Canada - Fred Flintstone-style - and I’ve been here ever since.”

I feel Canada is a great country ... I like Canada’s version of things. I like Canada’s place in the world.” Gloria Henderson

That was in 1993 and while she had started the application process on numerous occasions over the years, a nagging sense of American patriotism combined with being a “bad procrastinator” resulted in a lack of follow through on what she perceived to be a lot of complicated paperwork.

“I like it here, I like the people,” she said. “I feel Canada is a great country ... I like Canada’s version of things. I like Canada’s place in the world.”

After putting in her required first six years, Henderson became a permanent resident. That essentially offers all the benefits of being a Canadian with the exception of having the right to vote.

Being busy as a housewife and a working mother raising a family, one year led into another until before she knew, more than two decades had gone by.

Earlier this year, however, while chatting with a friend, Henderson discovered the other woman, whom she had believed to be a natural-born Canadian, had actually come from South Africa and had completed the citizenship process.

Learning Henderson had not done so, the other woman became the catalyst she needed for that final thrust.

“I nicknamed her cannonball,” Henderson said, “because she kind of gave me that little push that I needed to send everything in.”

In early February, after cramming for three weeks straight, Henderson wrote her citizenship and came away with a perfect score. Now, she is just waiting to get the call for her swearing in ceremony at Pier 21 in Halifax.

 “I can’t wait to get my date,” she said, while admitting to a likelihood of some pent-up sentiment when that big moment arrives.

“Oh, I’m probably going to stand there and bawl,” she said.

Twitter: @tdnharry