Community projects for Canada’s 150th engage Syrian refugees and other newcomers

(OTTAWA, ON) – Thanks to contributions from the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, community projects in Nanaimo, Edmonton, Peterborough and Montreal will help welcome and engage newcomers that have arrived as refugees from Syria.

The projects, ranging from artistic expressions to musical performances to cultural celebrations, are among activities that have received funding from community foundations participating in the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th – a national initiative to support local projects that build community and encourage engagement in our sesquicentennial.

Leading up to and during 2017, the Fund will provide thousands of small grants to local projects in every province and territory to engage the broadest possible array of Canadians with a particular focus on initiatives involving youth, Indigenous groups, official language minorities, and groups that reflect Canada’s cultural diversity.

The Government of Canada first announced its support to welcome 25,000 refugees from Syria one year ago. Since then, individuals and organizations across the country have stepped forward to provide leadership, services and resources to help those arriving from Syria feel more at home in their new communities.

“Canada’s efforts to help address the humanitarian crisis in Syria are just beginning. Welcoming these refugees was an important first step and now we are focussed on supporting these newcomers in settling and integrating into Canadian society and contribute to the economy,” said Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum. “This has been a truly national effort and these community projects are a wonderful way to help achieve the goal of integration and overall success for Syrian refugees in Canada.”

“Community building activities like these projects in Nanaimo, Edmonton, Peterborough and Montreal are part of fostering a greater sense of belonging in our communities,” said Laurel Carlton, Director, Leadership Initiatives and Governance with Community Foundations of Canada. “If we’re going to strengthen inclusion in this country, we must strengthen the relationships with people around us and ensure our communities are as welcoming to difference and diversity as possible.”

Nanaimo Foundation, Edmonton Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough and Community Foundation of Greater Montreal are just a few of the community foundations funding projects to engage Syrian refugees and other newcomers for Canada’s 150th. These projects include:

  • Spirit of Place Peace Flags: The Nanaimo Women’s Resources Society will attract community members, including seniors, Indigenous peoples and Syrian families, to participate in an artistic expression of community through the creation of individual peace flags to mark Canada’s 150th. (Nanaimo, BC)
  • Miyo Wahkohtowin (Good Relations) Gathering: An event organized by the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society in Edmonton will bring together Syrian newcomers and Indigenous peoples to celebrate cultural identity, strengthen community support systems and create the foundation for Miyo Wahkohtowin, or ‘good relations’. (Edmonton, AB).
  • Multicultural Canada Day Festival: An outdoor community gathering of more than 10,000 people organized by the New Canadians Centre in Peterborough to promote the positive and lasting impact of cultural diversity through a celebration of life’s simple pleasures, including food, music, art and dance. Newly designated as a ‘Welcome Centre’ for Syrian refugees, this year’s Festival was of particular significance for Peterborough in promoting cross-cultural understanding and acceptance of newcomers through education and awareness. (Peterborough, ON)
  • Meeting of Indigenous and Syrian Music: A project by OktoÉcho that mixes Indigenous and Syrian music to develop and strengthen the diversity of Canadian culture; promote and expand cultural exchanges; and enable better acceptance and coexistence of different socio-ethnic groups (Montreal, QC).

Registered Canadian charities, municipalities and other qualified donees are eligible to apply to the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th through the community foundation that serves their area.

To learn more about the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, including its funding priorities and which communities are currently accepting grant applications, visit www.communityfoundations.ca/cfc150.

About Community Foundations of Canada

Community Foundations of Canada is the national network for Canada’s 191 community foundations. We are a philanthropic movement working across sectors to help Canadians invest in building strong and resilient communities.

About Community Fund for Canada’s 150th

The Community Fund for Canada’s 150th is a collaborative effort, seeded by the Government of Canada and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast, and delivered locally by Canada’s community foundations.

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Community Fund for Canada’s 150th contact:

Laurel Carlton
Director, Leadership Initiatives and Governance
Community Foundations of Canada
P: (613) 915-1637
E: cfc150@communityfoundations.ca   

Media contact:

David Venn
Director of Communications
Community Foundations of Canada
P: (613) 236-2664 ext. 302
E: dvenn@communityfoundations.ca

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