After warm welcome in Toronto, 163 Syrian refugees embark on new journey

Dozens of Syrian refugees who arrived on the first government flight to Toronto will spend their first full day in Canada as permanent residents.

See Full Article

The 163 refugees – all of them privately-sponsored -- arrived at Pearson International Airport Thursday night, where they were welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Immigration Minister John McCallum and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, among other dignitaries.

"We really would like to thank you for all this hospitality and the warm welcome and all the staff - we felt ourselves at home and we felt ourselves highly respected," Kevork Jamkossian told Trudeau as cameras flashed around them.

"You are home," Trudeau said. "Welcome home."

All refugees received a warm welcome, along with winter clothing and teddy bears for the children. Photos and videos of the arrivals were tweeted with the hashtags #WelcomeRefugees and #WelcometoCanada, which were still trending on Friday morning.

After security and health checks, the new arrivals were issued social insurance numbers and health cards so they can begin a new life in Canada.

Most of them arrived at a hotel near the airport around 5 a.m. ET, where they could get a short rest before continuing their journey.

Shadi Mardelli, who escaped Syria with his family and lived in Lebanon for over a year, told reporters outside the hotel that he’s “very happy” to be in Canada.

“I’m so happy, thank you very much,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to a “beautiful future” and living in safety.

The majority of refugees who arrived Thursday night will remain in Ontario. They will be housed in Toronto, Willowdale, Windsor and Hamilton, among other communities.

About 70 Syrian-Armenian refugees who were on the flight are expected to arrive at an Armenian community centre in Toronto sometime Friday.

Another 35 refugees are heading to Calgary or Edmonton, while eight are going to British Columbia.

A second refugee flight is set to arrive in Montreal on Saturday.

In a statement issued Friday, Trudeau said Canada is “doing the right thing by providing refuge for those so desperately seeking safety.”

The federal government plans to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year and another 15,000 in early 2016.

With files from The Canadian Press



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Four women testify on Indiana attorney general groping claims

    World News CTV News
    INDIANAPOLIS -- A state lawmaker testified Monday she told a lobbyist that Indiana's attorney general was a "creeper" soon after he allegedly drunkenly groped her at a bar. Attorney General Curtis Hill looked on as Rep. Source
  • Son of Brazil's Bolsonaro assumes key party post

    World News CTV News
    Eduardo Bolsonaro speaks during the opening of the International Seminar Challenges to National Defense and the role of the Armed Forces, in the Foreign Relations Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. Source
  • North Carolina inmate convicted of murder in deadly prison breakout attempt

    World News CTV News
    RALEIGH, N.C. -- A North Carolina inmate was found guilty Monday of murdering four prison workers during a failed escape attempt two years ago. Jurors deliberated for about half an hour before convicting Mikel Brady, 30, of four counts of first-degree murder in the state's deadliest attempted prison breakout. Source
  • U.S. diplomat in Ukraine text messages to testify to Congress

    World News CTV News
    KYIV, Ukraine -- William Taylor has emerged as an unlikely central player in the events that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The retired career civil servant was tapped to run the U.S. Source
  • Arizona quietly suspends Medicaid work requirement

    World News CTV News
    PHOENIX -- Arizona quietly suspended plans to require about 120,000 people to work, volunteer or go to school to receive Medicaid benefits, as courts have taken a dim view of similar mandates in other states. Source
  • Trump bemoans Republicans for not sticking together on impeachment

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump is lashing out at the House impeachment inquiry and also criticizing Republicans for not sticking together. Trump offered the lengthy screed during a Cabinet meeting Monday in which he repeatedly defended his phone call with the Ukrainian president that sparked the impeachment inquiry. Source
  • Robocalls tell voters to head to the polls a day late

    Canada News CBC News
    Elections Canada says it has received reports of misleading robocalls made to voters suggesting voting actually takes place on Tuesday, the day after election day. "There have been some reports of people receiving misleading robocalls in Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick," said Elections Canada spokesperson Nathalie de Montigny. Source
  • Snow-battered Manitoba issues high-water, flooding advisory

    Canada News CTV News
    WINNIPEG -- Some areas of Manitoba are watching rivers and lakes closely as the province warns rain could bring high water -- or even flooding -- after a devastating snowstorm more than a week ago. Source
  • Renewed disturbances in Chile; many line up for food

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile -- Hundreds of protesters defied an emergency decree and confronted police in Chile's capital on Monday, continuing disturbances that have left at least 11 dead and led the president to say the country is "at war. Source
  • Police remove 245 animals, 3 children from 'deplorable' home

    World News CTV News
    EDGEWATER, Fla. - Police in Florida removed three children and 245 animals from a home after a wellness check. An Edgewater police statement says it was "immediately evident neither the children, nor the animals were being cared for properly. Source