Newcomers Falling for a Favourite Canadian Pastime

It was a party atmosphere at Charles Clark Square over the weekend even though a lot of people were falling down.

Hundreds of newcomers took advantage of the sunshine Saturday afternoon to take part in the fourth annual Newcomer Skate.

Suhad Al-Khafagi came to Canada from Iraq just over a year ago with her husband and four children.

She says her children have skated in school before, but it was the first time for her to attend the event.

"We are very excited, my kids love the snow very much and they love skating," she says although noting that her daughter is the "hero in falling. She falls down a lot."

Al-Khafagi admits it has been an adjustment living in Canada with the weather as there is about nine months of summer in Iraq but thankfully, her family loves the snow.

"I like snow, me and my family we like snow so we came to Canada."

She enjoys living in Canada saying her family feels safe and the people are friendly. 

The biggest challenge is finding work.  Her husband is an architect and Al-Khafagi has her masters in Geology before fleeing Iraq.

The event is a partnership between All Saints Church, the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario and Downtown Windsor Community Collaborative.

Skates and helmets were available to loan for free and volunteers served up soup, bread, fruit, vegetables and hot chocolate.

--With files from AM800's Gord Bacon and Teresinha Medeiros