Ontario couple tries to finish preparations hours before Syrian family arrives

Hours before a family of Syrian refugees was set to land in Ontario, the retired couple who helped sponsor them was scrambling Monday to wrap up preparations for their arrival.

TORONTO — Hours before a family of Syrian refugees was set to land in Ontario, the retired couple who helped sponsor them was scrambling Monday to wrap up preparations for their arrival.

Brian and Philomena Logel learned two weeks ago that the Alhajali family — Emad, his wife Razan, their daughter, Fatma, and son Mohammad — would be arriving this month, leaving them little time to finalize arrangements.

The couple managed to find the family a townhouse in Orangeville, Ont., about an hour northwest of Toronto, and were rushing to drop off first and last month’s rent before heading to the airport, Brian Logel said.

He said the Alhajalis will still live with them at their farmhouse on the outskirts of town for about a week until the new home is ready.

And the family will be coming over for Christmas dinner, even though it’s not a holiday they celebrate, he said.

While Brian Logel ran errands, his wife was at home cooking in case the Alhajalis are hungry when they arrive. The pair had previously said they found a halal butcher in town.

Others in the community have promised to drop off meals over the next week so that Philomena Logel isn’t shouldering the burden alone, he said.

“We’re so nervous, we’re so excited, I can’t believe it, how keyed up we are,” he said.

The Logels are part of a group co-sponsoring the Alhajalis with their local United Church.

They are working through the Anglican United Refugee Alliance, one of several organizations that have deals with the federal government to allow them to sponsor refugees from lists provided by the United Nations.

The Alhajalis are expected to arrive from Jordan on a commercial flight, rather than the government airlifts that began last Thursday as part of the Liberals’ pledge to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.

Emad and Razan Alhajali, both 28, have said they wanted to come to Canada specifically because they felt it was too dangerous for Muslims in the U.S., and Europe was turning people away. The couple is expecting their third child.

A trained nurse and midwife, Razan Alhajali has said she hopes her credentials can be recognized in her new country. Her husband has said he struggled to find work in Irbid, the northern Jordanian city where they have lived since fleeing their war-torn homeland.

Emad Alhajali’s cousin, Awad, and his family also found sponsors in Orangeville, but their application is in the early stages.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

March will be dramatically warmer through the prairies

Bharat Masrani, CEO, TD Bank Group speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

Shares in metals and mining companies have rebounded sharply

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

Layoff notices to go out ahead of the expiration of a memorandum of agreement

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Feds hoping for AstraZeneca shots this week as Pfizer-BioNTech prepare next delivery

Canada has ordered 24 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend Sunday Service, in Abbotsford, B.C., Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. A legal advocacy group challenging British Columbia’s COVID-19 restrictions on worship services and public protests is scheduled to be in court today arguing for the church and others that COVID-19 restrictions violate their charter rights. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Churches in court to challenge British Columbia’s COVID-19 health orders

Calgary-based organization says it represents over a dozen individuals and faith communities in the province

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson makes a shot against Team Alberta as second Shannon Birchard, right, and lead Briane Meilleur sweep in the semi-final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson wins second straight Canadian women’s curling championship

Einarson and her teammates celebrated Sunday in the silence in an empty arena

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
With loved ones and pets, Globes winners embrace cozier show

Nicole Kidman and musician-husband Keith Urban got glammed up to sit on their couch

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Schitt’s Creek nabs two Golden Globes for its final season

Catherine O’Hara named best television actress in a musical or comedy

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Most Read