Nova Scotia

Syrian refugees to arrive in small Cape Breton community by Monday

It appears the waiting is over for a volunteer group in Marion Bridge preparing to welcome Syrian refugees, with a family of six scheduled to arrive in the community by Monday, and perhaps as early as Sunday.

'We'll fill the pantry with food over the weekend,' says Stephen Read

A family of six refugees from Syria is set to arrive in Marion Bridge, Cape Breton, by Monday. They will live temporarily at the home of Stephen Read. (CBC)

It appears the waiting is over for a volunteer group in Marion Bridge, Cape Breton, preparing to welcome Syrian refugees, with a family of six scheduled to arrive in the community by Monday, and perhaps as early as Sunday.

"The latest word is they are getting on a plane in Beirut, Lebanon, either today or tomorrow," said Stephen Read, the leader of the community group sponsoring the family.

He said this will be the first group of Syrian refugees to arrive in Cape Breton since the federal government pledged this fall to bring 25,000 to Canada by the end of February.

The husband and wife and their four children fly to Toronto first, Read said, where they will acquire their social insurance numbers and interim health cards. Then they are scheduled to fly into Halifax "very early Monday morning."

But Read hopes to arrange for a direct flight on Sunday from Toronto to Sydney.

"We're all excited here in Marion Bridge," he said, adding there's another aspect of the arrival to celebrate at the beginning of next week.

"One of the children is going to turn two on Monday."

The family will live with Read and his wife, Irene, in their large home until they find suitable accomodation elsewhere in the Marion Bridge area.

"We'll fill the pantry with food over the weekend," he said, noting they've received advice from people they know in Sydney's Lebanese community about what kind of food to buy.

He said a local group known as the Saudi Club has offered help with translation, among other things.

Marion Bridge Elementary, he said, is also planning a play day later in the week to which the school-aged Syrian children are invited so they can meet future classmates and get to know their way around the property.

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