The first plane carrying Syrian refugees for Ontario landed at the Pearson Airport last week. It was a sight worth seeing. The eagerness with which all Canadians embraced the refugees made international headlines. But for the students of history it didn’t come as a surprise. Canada and Ontario have a long history of rolling out the welcome mat for those in need.
I am reminded of 1847 when in a six month period more than 38,000 migrants escaping the Irish Potato Famine, one of the worst human disasters of 19th century, landed on the shores of Toronto. The population of the city at the time was only 20,000. Similarly, in 1979 Canada welcomed 60,000 Vietnamese boat people escaping violence and conflict. Ontario has been in the forefront of settling refugees from around the world. In 2014, the province welcomed more than 11, 400 refugees to start a new life. Ontario is expected to take in up to 10,000 refugees from Syria.
At this historic moment you can also play your part. If you are interested in supporting efforts to welcome refugees visit SPARK Ontario to register and learn more about opportunities close to home.
United Way of Peel Region is helping to resettle the refugees in the Peel. You can volunteer or donate money and items. For more information on this initiative please visit their website.
Lifeline Syria also has a Mississauga Lifeline Syria Fund. Please visit their website for additional information.
December 15, 2015
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