_ (press release) _ ** Ottawa ** – Syrian refugees received a warm welcome today from Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Michael Qaqish, Special Liaison for Refugee Resettlement, as part of a celebration of their arrival in Ottawa held at the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park.
“Ottawa is proud to be a community that welcomes refugees, and this year approximately 1,500 Syrian refugees have found a new home in our city,” said Mayor Watson. “By the end of the year, the city expects to receive an additional 500 Syrian refugees. Today is an opportunity to officially welcome them into our community as our neighbours.”
The sponsored event featured information booths about City and community services, children’s activities and snacks.
“Over the last couple months, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of the refugees during visits to local mosques, community centres and events,” said Councillor Qaqish. “I’ve seen and been a part of the great efforts that the community has made to ensure they feel welcome. We will continue to help and support them as they build their lives in our community.”
“Our city is even more rich because of the new Syrian families,” said Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre “This welcome event is just one of many ways we as a community are working to integrate our new neighbours into the fabric of our great city. We are all dedicated to making their journeys into a more peaceful life as smooth as can be.”
The event was made possible through the generosity of sponsors such as Gabriel Pizza, Q Residential, PapaJack Popcorn, Little Ray’s Reptiles, Lamarche Electric, Pepsi Co., Eurest Services, Ottawa Fury, Ottawa Senators, Balloon It, Event Design Group, Full of Beans Party Rentals, Loblaws, Mastermind Events, and Orbital Talent.
The City is working closely with community organizations committed to helping refugees, including the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, Refugee613, and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. Ottawa Public Health and local community health centres have been addressing the refugee’s health needs and other community partners are facilitating essentials like affordable housing, literacy and language training, and employment.
Refugees will continue to receive the assistance to transition into their new city over the coming months.
Honoured to officially welcome hundreds of the newly arrived Syrian refugees to the City of Ottawa! [ #ottcity ](https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottcity?src=hash) [ pic.twitter.com/s0EOjNwdoM ](https://t.co/s0EOjNwdoM)
— Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) May 28, 2016