New Canadians take part in a virtual citizenship ceremony in a video recorded from a livestream on the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s YouTube channel, as seen on a phone in Toronto, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2020. A group of Syrian refugees is taking the Canadian citizenship oath in an online ceremony organized by the federal immigration department to mark the fifth anniversary of the landing of the first plane filled with Syrian refugees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giordano Ciampini

New Canadians take part in a virtual citizenship ceremony in a video recorded from a livestream on the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s YouTube channel, as seen on a phone in Toronto, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2020. A group of Syrian refugees is taking the Canadian citizenship oath in an online ceremony organized by the federal immigration department to mark the fifth anniversary of the landing of the first plane filled with Syrian refugees. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giordano Ciampini

Syrian refugees celebrate fifth anniversary in Canada with virtual event

The first plane bearing Syrian refugees landed in Toronto on Dec. 10, 2015

The organizer of a virtual celebration to mark the fifth anniversary of Canada’s welcoming Syrian refugees says Canadians’ support for the newcomers has been a beautiful example for the rest of the world.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the executive director of the Syrian Canadian Foundation Bayan Khatib says thousands of Canadians have volunteered to help Syrian refugees in almost every city and town in Canada.

Khatib says she was sad the celebration wouldn’t happen in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But now she realizes it was a blessing, with almost 700 people from across the country registered to attend online.

Khatib, who came as a Syrian refugee to Canada more than 30 years ago, says most of the Syrian refugees her organization has worked with have learned English and found jobs thanks to the support they received from their communities.

The first plane bearing Syrian refugees landed in Toronto on Dec. 10, 2015, following a promise by the Liberals during the 2015 election campaign to make it much easier for them to reach Canada.

Nearly 73,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled here since then.

———

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

refugeeSyria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 2,042 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jason Kenney urges federal government to push U.S. for surplus COVID-19 vaccines

‘It makes no sense for our neighbours and regional states to be sitting on doses that we cannot use,’ the premier said

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Kenney to announce plan for truckers to get COVID-19 vaccinations in nearby states

Alberta is approaching 25,000 active cases of COVID-19, and there are more than 600 people in hospital with the illness

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Big truck semi trailer moves on the highway towards sunset
Alberta’s cross-border truckers to be vaccinated at Montana rest stop

2,000 Alberta truck drivers who transport goods across the border will be able to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Montana

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether Alberta woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

Woman was taken off life support 12 days after getting vaccine

Most Read