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

  • 2 dead as storm triggers landslides, hits south China coast

    World News CTV News
    TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A powerful tropical storm swept across southern Taiwan, triggering landslides and flooding and leaving at least one dead before it hit southern China on Sunday morning, officials said. A 17-year-old died and two children were injured in another landslide in the northern Philippines on Saturday, authorities reported. Source
  • Federal NDP leader Singh makes stop in Edmonton, party's lone Alberta riding

    Canada News CBC News
    Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh visited the party's lone riding in Alberta on Saturday in an effort to build momentum in the province ahead of the fall election. The New Democrats have failed to translate strong support for the Alberta NDP into gains at the federal level. Source
  • Large explosion shakes Hezbollah stronghold in south Beirut

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT - People in southern Beirut say a large explosion has shaken a Hezbollah stronghold and triggered a fire. The nature of the blast early Sunday was not immediately clear. Some residents said it may have been caused by an Israeli drone that went down in the area. Source
  • NASA investigating what could be first-ever space crime: report

    World News CTV News
    An American astronaut is at the centre of what could be the first crime in space after she admitted to accessing her estranged wife’s bank account from the International Space Station. Decorated NASA pilot Anne McClain, who was on a six-month mission aboard the ISS at the time of the incident, acknowledges accessing the account but denies any wrongdoing, according to a report from The New York Times. Source
  • NASA investigating what may be first allegation of crime in space: report

    World News CTV News
    An American astronaut is at the centre of what could be the first allegation of a crime in space after she admitted to accessing her estranged wife’s bank account from the International Space Station. Decorated NASA pilot Anne McClain, who was on a six-month mission aboard the ISS at the time of the incident, acknowledges accessing the account but denies any wrongdoing, according to a report from The New York Times. Source
  • Police say man left photocopy of his face after alleged break-in

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police are asking for help identifying a man who allegedly broke into a commercial property and left a photocopy of his face behind. Police say they were called to the property on Friday for a break and enter in the city's north end. Source
  • Democrats vote against holding debate on climate change

    World News CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- The Democratic National Committee on Saturday quashed a push from climate activists and some national party members who want a 2020 presidential primary debate devoted exclusively to the climate crisis. The national party committee voted 222-137 at its summer meeting in San Francisco against a resolution that effectively would have rolled back debate rules set by Chairman Tom Perez and freed presidential candidates to participate in a climate-only debate. Source
  • Israel strikes at Iranian forces over Damascus to take down alleged armed drones

    World News CBC News
    Israeli aircraft on Saturday struck Iranian forces near Damascus that were allegedly planning to launch armed drones at targets in Israel, an Israeli military spokesperson said. "The strike targeted Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shia militias, which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last number of days," the military said in a statement. Source
  • Tropical storm Dorian forms in Atlantic, likely to strengthen

    World News CBC News
    Here are the latest Key Messages on Tropical Storm <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dorian?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dorian</a>. Tropical Storm or Hurricane watches may be needed for portions of the Lesser Antilles on Sunday. The latest info is available at <a href="https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB">https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB</a> <a href="https://t.co/3p5kxwCSUo">pic.twitter.com/3p5kxwCSUo</a>&mdash;@NHC_Atlantic Source
  • French police fire tear gas at G7 protesters

    World News CTV News
    French police used tear gas and water cannon to break up anti-G7 protesters in the southern city of Bayonne on Saturday, as leaders from the world's leading industrialised nations arrived for their summit just a few kilometres away in Biarritz. Source