Somali family reaches milestone — welcomes 150th member to Canada

To celebrate Canada's 150th, a Somali-born Winnipegger welcomed the 150th member of his family to Canada on Wednesday night.

It started 20 years ago when Marcus Askar fled civil war in Somalia and found refuge in Winnipeg

Marcus Askar anxiously awaits his youngest brother's arrival in Winnipeg on Wednesday night. (Justin Fraser/ CBC)

A Somali family celebrated a milestone Wednesday night when the 150th family member arrived in Canada, in the 150th year of Canada's founding.

"I am feeling so joyful," said Marcus Askar, who started it all 20 years ago when he fled civil war in Somalia and found refuge in Winnipeg.

On Wednesday, Askar welcomed three relatives — Ismail Ali Askar (his youngest brother), Ilhan hussen Ahmed and Ayanleh hussen Ahmed.

"I have been waiting so long," he said. "I don't remember his face he was so young — two or something like that."

Ismeal Askar cries as he sees his brother Marcus Askar for the first time in 20 years. (Justin Fraser/ CBC)

Askar, who comes from a family of eight boys and five girls, said all but two of his siblings are now in Canada. He said his extended family now lives all across the country but every one of them considers Winnipeg to be home.

Hannah Askar joined her father at the airport to welcome her three new relatives in from Djibouti. 

"I am excited that they are going to start a new life here and hopefully they are comfortable when they get here," she said.

The 14-year-old was born in Winnipeg and said it's a new experience for her, welcoming family in from a war-torn country.

"I don't think I would ever be able to understand the struggles that they went through back home, because obviously it's hard there."
The Askar family reached 150 members in Canada on Wednesday night. (Justin Fraser/ CBC)