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New arrivals from Syria celebrate Canada Day at Eastwood Park

A Canada Day weekend picnic in Eastwood Park drew dozens of people who are new arrivals in Hamilton. The day was organized by Wesley Urban Ministries, which has had stewardship of Syrian refugees in this area.

Wesley Urban Ministries had Canada Day picnic with many there celebrating for the first time

A Canada Day weekend picnic in Eastwood Park on Thursday drew dozens of people who are new arrivals in Hamilton. The day was organized by Wesley Urban Ministries, which has had stewardship of Syrian refugees in this area.

Enise Abdelhalik, who came to Canada just four months ago from Syria, was all smiles as she and her family took in the festivities. She wore a red hijab, and her sons Muhammed and Yakup wore bright red "Happy Canada Day" shirts and hats. "We have been in many countries," she told the CBC, "but Canada is the most beautiful. And peaceful."

Her older son Muhammed echoed the sentiment. "With the trees, and the grass... it's beautiful. Like my country, Syria."

A child enjoying the Canada Day picnic (Dave Beatty, CBC)

The picnic featured some musicians playing fun renditions of family classics like "The Wheels on the Bus," as well as food, face painting, henna, and other activities. Dozens of parents and children were already there near the start of the event at 10 a.m., strolling across the grass, socializing, and sitting in the shade of a tree.

Kathy Pierce, the Manager of Children & Family Services at Wesley Urban Ministries, was happy at the opportunity to celebrate Canada Day and welcome newcomers to Canada at the same time.

"It's important that we open our doors every day," she said, "But Canada Day is extra special."

Families were treated to music, face painting, games, and other activities (Dave Beatty, CBC)

dave.beatty@cbc.ca | @dbeatty

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