Syrian family celebrates 1st Canada Day away from scars of war

Among the thousands of people gathered on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada Day, some were there for the very first time — and celebrating the start of a new life in Canada.

'Thank you for much,' says 11-year-old Aziza Toubeh after celebrations on Parliament Hill

Aziza Toubeh, 11, who fled Syria's civil war with her family, expresses her thanks after spending her first Canada Day on Parliament Hill. 0:44

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.

The Toubeh family arrived from Syria six months ago and Friday spent their first Canada Day on Parliament Hill. The family, posing with a Mountie, from left: Wessam, 17, Ward, 22, Aziza, 11, and mother Wejdan. (David Cochrane/CBC)

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.

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.

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."

Justin Trudeau was focused on unity on his first Canada Day as prime minister, while one family cried tears of gratitude, six months after fleeing Syria 4:13