Sault Ste. Marie residents Dharmesh and Mausami Kholwadwala are now officially Canadian citizens.
The couple, originally from the city of Surat in western India, was sworn in during a citizenship ceremony at White Pines Collegiate and Vocational School in Sault Ste. Marie Tuesday morning.
19 people in all took their oath of citizenship during the event.
Dharmesh is the owner of the Pine Grove Motel in the east end of Sault Ste. Marie.
“When I moved to Canada it was a very hard situation for me. Everywhere was like snow and minus temperatures that I did not see back home in India,” said Dharmesh. “But I wanted to be something. That’s why I moved out of my country. I had a goal.”
The Kholwadwalas moved to Canada four years ago, making stops in southern Ontario and Alberta in order to acquire work experience and save money.
During that time, Dharmesh worked a number of jobs in the service industry - Walmart, Pizza Hut and Subway to name a few - in order to familiarize himself with Canadian culture and, at the same time, to observe “what customers want, what Canadians like.”
It was jobs like these that showed Dharmesh how to communicate with customers.
“I learn how to behave, how to talk with the customer,” said Dharmesh. “So that was the route to become a boss, or become an owner.”
Saving money from working those jobs then enabled the Kholwadwalas to become entrepreneurs. They acquired the Pine Grove Motel on Trunk Road in September 2015.
Dharmesh said now that he is officially a Canadian citizen and achieving his years-in-the-making goal of owning a business in the hospitality industry, he’s looking forward to getting his Canadian passport in order to travel the world.