Below you will find what I wrote to my friends and family. I sent the request via email. Most replied via email and I just printed them out. My brother and my sponsor's close friend printed, notarized, and sent their replies via postal mail.
I'd be happy to share examples of what we got in return, but the responses were so varied...it would be hard to chose just one to be "representative". One was like a court document; just the facts. Several were letters addressed to "Whom it may concern". One friend included photos he'd taken of us when we visited him the first time. One person wrote to me but described what she when about the evolution of your relationship...a sort of remember when reflective piece.
Dear Friends and Family,
As you know I am seeking Permanent Residence status in Ontario, Canada through the Family Class immigration category. I am technically called a "Conjugal Partner" (nice and descriptive, isn't it?) and XXXX is my Sponsor. As part of the immigration application we are required to provide evidence that we are indeed a genuine couple. This includes email correspondence, passport stamps from visits to see each other, plane ticket stubs, photos, etc. We are also required to document the history of our relationship (which was kind of a fun exercise).
An important part of this evidence of genuine coupledom/coupleship, whatever you want to call it, is documentation from family and friends. My brother and his wife have agreed to make sworn testimony on our behalf, but from reading Canadian immigration blogs it appears that the more documentary evidence we can provide from external sources the more likely our application will be approved swiftly, or at least not denied on this basis.
So I am writing today to ask if you would write an email on our behalf and send it to me (or XXXX, if you prefer) by Friday. I realize this request is somewhat vague as to the content of the email, so I've included a list of basic points to cover at the bottom of this message. You are certainly welcome to write more, or less...whatever you are comfortable with putting in writing to support our Family Class application.
For those of you who respond, please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your timely assistance in this matter. For those who chose not to respond for any reason, please know that I accept your decision with much grace and goodwill.
General information to consider including in your message (this can be written in French or in English, by the way)...
1. A description of how you know either one of us (typically the person you knew first)...examples
I am a friend of XXX, I was a co-worker of XXX, I am the sister of XXX, etc
2. A description of how you became aware of our relationship, when you met the other partner, activities we participated in together, etc
3. A statement to the effect that, in your judgement, we are in a real, loving, ongoing, genuine (you choose the words) relationship based on your personal knowledge and experiences