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

  • Moroccan premier forms government, ending 5-month crisis

    World News CTV News
    RABAT, Morocco -- Morocco's new Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani has succeeded in building a governing coalition, ending a five-month political deadlock after just eight days in office. El Othmani, 61, of the Islamist Party for Justice and Development, or PJD, announced Saturday in a press conference in Rabat that an "agreement has been reached" with six political parties to form a coalition government. Source
  • Congolese militia decapitates more than 40 police officers

    World News CTV News
    BENI, Congo -- A Congolese militia group has decapitated 42 policemen after ambushing them in an increasingly violent region where the U.N. is searching for missing American and Swedish investigators, a local official said Saturday. Source
  • Suspect in fatal shooting on Las Vegas Strip surrenders after standoff

    World News CBC News
    The suspect in a fatal shooting on the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday surrendered to police after barricading himself inside a bus. The standoff began after a report of shots fired on Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip. Source
  • Suspect shooting at passing trucks on B.C. highway: RCMP

    Canada News CTV News
    PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. -- RCMP say they've received numerous calls from truck drivers reporting that someone shot at their vehicles on a B.C. highway. Police say the incidents occurred over an eight-hour period starting Friday night on Highway 97 between Houston and 100 Mile House in the province's central and northern Interior. Source
  • 1 dead on Vegas Strip shooting, gunman barricaded on bus

    World News CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- A gunman barricaded himself inside a bus Saturday along the Las Vegas Strip after a shooting that left one person dead, officials said. The attack prompted a partial closure of the busy boulevard. Source
  • Security, parking, garbage irk Ivanka Trump's D.C. neighbours

    World News CBC News
    ?Residents of a posh Washington neighbourhood say Ivanka Trump and her family don't make for very good neighbours, taking up much of the parking on an already crowded street and leaving trash bags at the curb for days. Source
  • Liberals must sell budget to premiers after 'challenging' health talks

    Canada News CBC News
    Liberal MPs stuck around Ottawa on a rare Saturday to hammer out a plan to sell their recent budget to the public in the coming weeks, but the government also will have to move past the bruising experienced during the health accord negotiations to get the premiers on board. Source
  • Elderly couple flying to Michigan taken to wrong gate, end up in N.Y.

    World News Toronto Sun
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A 96-year-old woman and an 89-year-old man were wheeled to the wrong gate at a South Florida airport and ended up on a flight to upstate New York instead of Michigan. Helen Wheeker and her husband, George Nobel, ended up Ogdensburg, N.Y. Source
  • Self-driving Uber SUV hits vehicle in Arizona

    World News Toronto Sun
    TEMPE, Ariz. — Officials say a self-driving Uber SUV was operating on its own when it was struck by another vehicle making a left turn at an intersection in Arizona, where the company is testing autonomous vehicles. Source
  • Woman ordered to return dog after taking off with pair of pooches post-breakup

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- A woman who took off with two dogs she had shared with her ex-boyfriend has been ordered to return one of the pooches after a bitter ownership dispute. Matthew MacDonald told a Nova Scotia small claims court that he purchased the Yorkshire terriers while he was living with his "on-again, off-again" girlfriend Brittany Pearl in Fort McMurray, Alta. Source