Quebecers knit, donate tuques to Syrian refugees

Quebecers have gone out of their way to coordinate, make and donate tuques as a way to offer a warm welcome to Syrian refugees.

Volunteers prepare to welcome the planeloads of newcomers

Christine Rushworth knitted hats, tunics and neckwarmers from her mother's tunic for Syrian refugees. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

As the first planeload of Syrian refugees landed on Dec. 12 at Montreal's Trudeau International Airport, Quebecers were ready to offer a warm welcome.

Volunteers from across Canada have knitted thousands of tuques after the 25,000 Tuques project was launched in Quebec in late November by Danielle Létourneau.

The initiative was meant to help newcomers adapt to the cold as they experience their first winter on Canadian soil.

Here are some of the initiatives that have happened so far as a result:


The neighbourhood of NDG in Montreal held a knit-in Saturday, Dec. 12, to make tuques and collect donations just hours ahead of the first planeload of refugees landed in Montreal.

Volunteer Beth Sissons knits a scarf as part of the NDG knit-in Saturday. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

Children were encouraged to do finger knitting and experienced knitters helped volunteers new to knitting with their creations.


​When students at Lennoxville Elementary School heard about the 25,000 Tuques project, they thought it to be a good match for their classroom.

Student Olivia Bopaka said she was looking forward to presenting refugees with the tuques because they might not be prepared for cold Canadian winters. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

About 45 students at the Quebec's Eastern Townships school spent an afternoon earlier this week recycling old sweaters into tuques for incoming Syrian refugees.

"When they come here, they're going to have nothing and it's going to be cold, so we're making hats for them," said student Olivia Bopaka.

Students, teachers and parent volunteers cut sweaters in two. Each half yielded a tuque. (Kate McKenna/CBC)

The mixed-age classroom, which is comprised of students in Grade 4, 5 and 6, has been studying the refugee crisis as its educational theme since September.

Montreal's McCord Museum

Volunteers spent a Friday afternoon at Montreal's McCord Museum knitting en masse to help keep Syrians warm during their first Quebec winter. 

Volunteers at the McCord Museum knitted hundreds of tuques as part of a two-day workshop. (CBC)

Dozens of bins were filled with tuques by the end of the day.

The museum is also holding a second knitting workshop on Jan. 15. For those who don't know how to knit, organizers are accepting balls of yarn.

Grandmothers in Trois-Rivières

In Trois-Rivières, a group of seniors comes together every Saturday afternoon to knit for Syrian refugees.

Trois-Rivières is one of 13 Quebec towns that will take in Syrian refugees. (Radio-Canada)

The group of about 15 women from Chartwell Jardins Laviolette residence knits tuques, pairs of mittens and scarves to help the incoming 70 refugees expected to land in Trois-Rivières by the end of February 2016.

"They are in need," said resident Thérèse Beaumier. "Us, we're so well here. We live in a country of peace."

"Because in Quebec, the only true enemy is the cold," is the slogan of 25,000 Tuques project. (Marie-Eve Cousineau/Radio-Canada)


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