Dec 11, 2015

By Jane Brown

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A family of three that’s among the 163 Syrians who landed at Toronto’s Pearson Airport late last night describes Canada as “paradise.”

Accompanied by his wife and their 16-month-old daughter, Kevork Jamkossian thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau personally for the warm welcome and for making them feel at home.

The Prime Minister and Premier Kathleen Wynne personally welcomed two of the families and gave them winter coats.

“Tonight they step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada with social insurance numbers, health cards, and with an opportunity to become full Canadians,” Trudeau told the gathering at the terminal processing centre.

Christine Youssef, whose parents were born in Syria, was waiting outside an airport area hotel for her five cousins to arrive. Their reunion took place early this morning.

“It’s been five years since I’ve seen my cousins. They walked off the bus (that transported them from the airport), and they ran to me, we ran to each other, we started hugging, crying,” Youssef told reporters.

Of those who arrived last night, 70 per cent will remain in the Toronto area, and the rest will be settled in British Columbia, Alberta, and Windsor, Ontario.

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