Syrian family celebrates 1st Canada Day away from scars of war
'Thank you for much,' says 11-year-old Aziza Toubeh after celebrations on Parliament Hill
Among the thousands of people gathered on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada Day, some were there for the very first time, celebrating the start of a new life in Canada.
The Toubehs — mother Wejdan, daughter Aziza, 11, and sons Wessam, 17, and Ward, 22 — have been in Canada since December after fleeing Syria's civil war.
Their father, a welder, did not make it to Canada. He was killed in an industrial accident while working in Lebanon as the family waited to gain refuge.
But Friday was a day to celebrate as the family, decked out in red and white, joined sponsors Susan Whitley and Hoda Mankal for a day of celebration on Parliament Hill.
Spending Canada Day on the hill with the Toubeh family from Syria. Tonight on <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCTheNational">@CBCTheNational</a> <a href="https://t.co/Sh5ZJY66QZ">pic.twitter.com/Sh5ZJY66QZ</a>—@CochraneCBC
Aziza Toubeh's first Canada Day. The Toubeh's left Syria six months ago. <a href="https://t.co/rnk1tN9nKJ">pic.twitter.com/rnk1tN9nKJ</a>—@lisalaventure
Ward Toubeh (22) is adjusting to life in Canada quite well! <a href="https://t.co/aUW9Axc4zJ">pic.twitter.com/aUW9Axc4zJ</a>—@CochraneCBC
The Noofoori's were on the same flight from Damascus as the Toubeh's. Reunited on the hill. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/canadaday?src=hash">#canadaday</a> <a href="https://t.co/llsZflrYHk">pic.twitter.com/llsZflrYHk</a>—@lisalaventure
Aziza Toubeh (11) gets a boost from brother Wessam (17) to see the Canada Day parade. <a href="https://t.co/BVx0NMLxer">pic.twitter.com/BVx0NMLxer</a>—@CochraneCBC
CBC News told PMO officials the Toubeh family would be on Parliament Hill.
That led to a meeting with the Governor General and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, another first for the family.
The Toubeh's meet Justin and Sophie Trudeau. <a href="https://t.co/eI2gJ7sfri">pic.twitter.com/eI2gJ7sfri</a>—@lisalaventure
Emotional moment between Sophie Trudeau and Aziza. <a href="https://t.co/fSrhIElgfV">pic.twitter.com/fSrhIElgfV</a>—@lisalaventure
Aziza Toubeh was overcome with emotion as she tried to express what the day meant for her.
"Thank you for my sponsor," she said, wiping away tears. "Thank you for much."