How one family's loss led to a Syrian family's home in Cape Breton
Before he died, a Baddeck man decided he wanted his house to become home to a Syrian refugee family
Shortly before he entered a care facility a few months ago, Bill Fraser of Baddeck, N.S., was thinking of what might happen to his empty house.
"He said to me, 'Lorna, what do you think of this family of Syrian refugees? Could that be a nice use of my home?'" recalled his sister, Lorna Fraser.
Bill Fraser thought he would eventually recover from ill health and return to Baddeck. But he died last month.
Now, his sister has arranged to lease his house and has donated most of its furnishings to a Syrian family of six who will arrive in the Cape Breton village later this spring.
"Out of sadness comes good things, sometimes," said Jennifer MacDonald, a member of the Syria to Baddeck steering committee.
She said the committee had been looking for months for a suitable house, but there was little available in the community of 800.
Fraser's house is ideal, she said, adding that it has three bedrooms and is within walking distance of the school and grocery store.
"It's also avoided us having to do any sort of major furniture drive," said MacDonald, "because the house is essentially move-in ready."
Big relief to have living arrangements
The Syria to Baddeck committee began raising money in November 2015 to bring a family to the island. To date, the group has raised close to $40,000.
MacDonald said there have been a number of delays, due largely to a backlog in the private sponsorship refugee program.
The committee now expects the family, which includes four children between the ages of four and 14, to arrive in March or April.
MacDonald said it's a big relief to know their living arrangements are in place.
A man 'supportive of community'
Lorna Fraser said she believes her brother would be pleased with the outcome.
"He was very much supportive of community, and what community could do for you, and would really want to be helping this family."