Smiles, flowers, and handshakes spread around Lawson Heights Mall Sunday as Syrian families said "thank you" to the citizens of their new home.

The gathering was initially organized by three families, but it quickly grew to around 20.

 Syrian refugee families hand out flowers 5

The event was originally organized by three families but quickly grew to around 20. (Sandra Sirois/CBC)

"This is an event to thank Canadians and the society and just truly tell them 'Thank you' and [it's] coming from citizens and civilians rather than any kind of organization," organizer Abdul Rahman Shehadah said through a translator.

"We came out here today with our families and kids to really truly thank all Canadians and just tell them thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what they have done for us and how they have welcomed us. "

 Syrian refugee families hand out flowers 9

People in the mall were happy to receive the flowers. (Sandra Sirois/CBC)

Shehadah and his family arrived in Canada about two months ago and he said they "absolutely love it."

The families waved home made signs that said "Syrians say thank you Canada" and "Canada is our hope for the future." They also handed out flowers.

Syrian refugees hand flowers out in Saskatoon0:20

Basem Ahmad and his family came to Saskatoon just a few weeks ago.

"We are very happy to come to here, to Canada. We thank Canada government and people," he said.  We love you very much, thank you from our hearts."

The families said they felt it was very important they show their gratitude, in a personal way, from citizen to citizen.

 Syrian refugee families hand out flowers 4

The families held signs which read "thank you". (Sandra Sirois/CBC)