'Welcome to Canada': Sponsors greet early Syrian arrivals at Toronto airport

TORONTO -- Cheers erupted at Toronto's Pearson airport as two families of Syrian refugees emerged from the arrival gate Wednesday night.

See Full Article

The newcomers appeared weary but moved as they came face to face with those whose support brought them to Canada.

Their sponsors, meanwhile, let out whoops of joy and hoisted signs of welcome above their heads.

Lubna Malik stood at the gate for hours flanked by her husband and other relatives. Next to her were bags bursting with winter coats, clothes and children's backpacks for the newcomers.

She says they learned Sunday that the two families would be arriving in a matter of days and have been scrambling to get everything ready.

For now, she says, the refugees will be staying with community members who have freed up their basement apartments in Milton, Ont., but only until more permanent lodging is found.

Malik and her husband are part of several families to join forces to sponsor Syrian refugees through a Muslim community group -- the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at.

"In Islam, we are supposed to help our fellow human beings," the stay-at-home mother of three said. "I think we all feel empathetic to them, these are people that were just like us and now they've lost everything.

"We are pretty much cancelling whatever we can because we just want to be there for them."

The group's spokesman, Safwan Choudhry, said the fundraising effort began only a few weeks ago, but the families had been on a waiting list for some time.

It was announced Wednesday afternoon that the first government airlift of Syrian refugees would arrive Thursday night.

The Liberal government has committed to resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February, with 10,000 of them set to arrive by year's end.

Temporary processing centres have been set up to handle the waves of newcomers at Toronto's Pearson airport and Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • U.K. goverment tries to advance virus response with leader in ICU

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's government sought Wednesday to keep a grip on the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic as Prime Minister Boris Johnson started a third day in the intensive care unit of a London hospital being treated for COVID-19. Source
  • Mayor orders crackdown on social gatherings, then police find his wife at a bar

    World News CTV News
    A mayor in Illinois pleaded with residents last week to follow the state's stay at home order. After officers reported that people were continuing to defy the rules, the mayor said he had directed the city's police department to use its discretion in issuing citations and arrests. Source
  • Legions begin fundraising to save branches as financial challenges mount

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A number of Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country have launched online fundraising efforts to keep their doors open after suffering financial setbacks because of COVID-19. The head of the national veterans' and community service group said this week that despite ongoing work to help veterans and seniors in their communities during the pandemic, many branches are now turning to fundraising to pay the bills and ensure they can re-open when the crisis ends. Source
  • COVID-19 creates new hardships for some cargo crews stuck aboard ships

    Canada News CBC News
    Cargo ship crews ferrying goods around the world are facing increased strain as ship operators consider keeping them at sea longer during the COVID-19 outbreak. It comes at a time when restrictions and concerns around the virus keep crews from leaving their vessels while in port, according to a union that represents seafarers. Source
  • Ontario conducting fewer COVID-19 tests daily as cases keep climbing

    Canada News CBC News
    The number of COVID-19 tests completed in Ontario each day has dwindled steadily over the past week, raising concerns that the province is missing cases of the illness and failing to capture the true spread of the novel coronavirus. Source
  • COVID-19 sparks rise in online child predators, says UNICEF chief

    World News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The COVID-19 outbreak has sparked an increase in online child sexual predators that organizations, governments and parents need to take more seriously, says the head of the United Nations children's agency. "We've got a couple of worrying signs, which is that the online predators are really -- they're multiplying," Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said in a wide-ranging interview with The Canadian Press this week. Source
  • Liberals asked to help cover overruns on projects delayed by COVID-19

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Cities and construction groups are asking the Trudeau Liberals to relax the rules for expected cost overruns from infrastructure projects facing delays from the COVID-19 pandemic -- or add more cash to help them deal with it. Source
  • Doctors investigate rare COVID-19 symptoms in effort to move quickly from anecdotes to science

    Canada News CBC News
    Dry cough, fever and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms of COVID-19, but specialists are starting to learn more about less common potential symptoms such as loss of one's sense of smell, disorientation and even seizures. Source
  • Pandemic equipment snarls will rewrite Canada's definition of national security needs, say experts

    Canada News CBC News
    The mad scramble to secure protective medical equipment and ventilators in the midst of a global pandemic has given some of the people who work in the usually tedious world of government procurement an unwelcome excuse to say, "I told you so. Source
  • How a simple plastic box could protect health-care workers across Canada from COVID-19

    Canada News CBC News
    For clinicians, inserting a tube into the airway of a COVID-19 patient is a high-risk procedure. It usually means front-line workers are staring right into someone's open mouth, and directly in the line of fire, should a sudden cough send virus-filled droplets flying. Source