“Why did you move to Canada?” It’s a fair question! After all, it is not easy to leave behind one’s family and friends and move across the ocean with the hope of starting a better life. Let’s hear it from immigrants that we ran into at Toronto Newcomer Day on May 25. Some had arrived in the city just a few weeks ago, and others have been here a lot longer. However, they shared the belief they had in Canada providing them with the foundations to build their hopes and dreams.
“It is great to move to a new country and have people be so helpful,” Merven Naidu, who immigrated from South Africa, told us. “We are settling in quite well, the children are at school, and my wife and I are studying. We are surrounded by a huge community of people where we live and the church we attend,” he added.
Outside the impressive structure of City Hall at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of Toronto, more than 100 local, regional, and national organizations had set up tents billowing in the breeze to help newcomers with services spanning employment, settlement, transportation, financial advice, childcare, language training, volunteering, community engagement, and many more.
Nestor Nkeshimana, who came to Toronto from Burundi seven months ago, was among the thousands of newcomers keenly perusing what Toronto Newcomer Day had to offer. “When I came [to Canada], I did not even know how to answer people, but school has helped me a lot. I came here because it is a peaceful country and there are many opportunities. I am proud to see so many people from all parts of the world here.”
A little further down at the event, we ran into Shofiul Khan and his wife, Reshmi, who migrated from Bangladesh just a month ago. “The environment in a country like Canada encourages you to grow,” they said. “You have good family services as well. This is a developed country, so you have good educational opportunities and the chance to live a safe life. We came here for our children and their future.”
Tahira and Sabah, who were also at the event with their little children, agreed that Canada is an amazing place to bring up the next generation. “The facilities for children and women are very good,” said Tahira, who arrived here a year ago. “The main thing is that every community here learns to coexist with others. We also feel happy that there is a large Pakistani community in Toronto.
Sabah, who has been in Canada for three years, added: “I really like the rules and regulations here – the country knows its priorities. The best thing for me, however, is that it is really clean! This is a country that really respects women as well. Everyone is treated equally.”
For Alina, who immigrated from Ukraine with her husband and children six months ago, Canada is extremely welcoming. “Canada is very friendly to newcomers… My children also love it here. They really enjoy going to school,” she recalled.
This welcoming nature was also experienced by Henry Park’s parents when they arrived from South Korea 27 years ago. “Canada of course has a history of immigrants coming to explore more possibilities, so that would have played a factor. too,” he said. “They love it here. Your religion, ethnicity, or background, does not matter – as long as you come here and work hard, this place will always be open to talented people.”
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