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

  • Spanish judge drops extradition requests for 6 Catalans

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- A Spanish Supreme Court judge on Thursday dropped his extradition requests for six Catalan separatist politicians wanted on rebellion charges, including ex-regional president Carles Puigdemont. Puigdemont fled to Belgium after an Oct. Source
  • Aussie PM Turnbull calls on Pope to fire disgraced archbishop

    World News CBC News
    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday that Pope Francis must sack an Australian archbishop convicted of concealing child sex abuse. In May, Archbishop Philip Wilson, 67, became the most senior Catholic cleric to be convicted of not disclosing to police the abuse happening at the hands of another priest. Source
  • Astronomers spy nearby star that could be eating a planet

    World News CBC News
    Astronomers may have caught a relatively nearby star munching on a planet or mini-planets. A NASA space telescope noticed that the star suddenly started looking a bit strange last year. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory spotted a 30-fold increase in iron on the edge of the star, which is only 10 million years old, along with pronounced dimming. Source
  • Putin chides Trump's opponents, calls summit a success

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin called his first summit with President Donald Trump a success -- but warned Thursday that Trump's opponents in the U.S. are hampering any progress on what they discussed, such as limiting their nuclear arsenals or ending the Syrian war. Source
  • Israel passes Jewish nation-state bill after contentious session in Knesset

    World News CBC News
    Israel's parliament approved controversial legislation on Thursday that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, but critics warn that it marginalizes minorities. The government says the bill, passed in the early-morning hours, will merely enshrine into law Israel's existing character. Source
  • Jailed Audi chief seeks release pending German fraud probe

    World News CTV News
    In this Thursday, May 3, 2018 file photo, Rupert Stadler, CEO of Audi AG, attends the shareholders' meeting of the Volkswagen stock company in Berlin, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file) Source
  • Growing extremism threatens Mali's July 29 elections

    World News CBC News
    As deadly attacks by extremists become more brazen in Mali, officials and citizens fear this month's presidential election will be at risk from growing insecurity. A branch of al-Qaeda even set off a car bomb at the headquarters of a new West African counterterror force late last month, further destabilizing central Mali as extremist groups expand from remote northern regions where they have had strongholds for years. Source
  • Suspected spy jailed in U.S. to meet with Russian officials

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russian Embassy officials were to meet Thursday with a Siberian gun rights activist jailed in Washington on charges of spying on the United States, as Moscow blasted the arrest as "anti-Russian hysteria." The embassy said in a Facebook post that consular officials will meet with Maria Butina for the first time since her Sunday arrest, and will provide her "all necessary help. Source
  • Ontario man gets 17 years for luring more than a dozen teen boys into sex acts

    Canada News CTV News
    A man from Espanola, Ont., will serve 17 years in prison after being convicted of luring more than a dozen teen boys into sex acts by offering them drugs, alcohol, and money. Paul McColeman, 45, was sentenced Wednesday for his role in 34 sex-related offences that included sexual exploitation, communication for the purpose of child prostitution, luring children, and indecent exposure. Source
  • Moose wanders onto Ottawa highway, snarling traffic

    Canada News CTV News
    A moose with an apparent leg injury caused significant gridlock on an Ottawa highway Thursday morning. The moose was first spotted in the eastbound lanes of Highway 417 around 6:30 a.m. Police officers and provincial officials used their vehicles to box the animal in and separate it from traffic. Source