Welcome to Canada

Since the days of Confederation, Canadians from coast to coast to coast have been opening up their communities to welcome people displaced from their home countries by war, natural disaster, or persecution.

Between November 4, 2015 and October 31, 2020 Canada accepted nearly 45,000 refugees from Syria, escaping the brutal civil war in that country. About half of these were privately sponsored the others being government assisted.

The first family sponsored by Rideau Bridge to Canada, the Erhayels from Syria, arrived in June 2017 and continue to live and work in Merrickville. Rideau Bridge sponsored a second family, the Al Abouds who arrived in October 2020 (see the “First Families” page). Both families have settled in the community very well.

Rideau Bridge to Canada has recently started the process to sponsor an Afghanistan family (see the “Family from Afghanistan” page.)

Originally called Merrickville Bridge to Canada, our organization was made up of committed residents of Merrickville who wanted to help make a difference for refugees in need of a new home. Most of the sponsorship money was raised in the small and very generous village of Merrickville, with help from neighboring communities. Recently, we have broadened our area to include Smiths Falls and other areas along the Rideau system. To reflect this, our name was changed to Rideau Bridge to Canada.

This website provides information on our organization, our plans, our needs, and how you can get involved. If you are a resident or friend of Merrickville, Smiths Falls or beyond, we hope you will join us and give this important cause your support. Our area can offer more than a new home to a family in need. Together, we can offer a new way of life among caring people who will assist newcomers with both the essential elements of well-being and the wonderful luxuries of respect for pluralism, access to free education, availability of healthcare, and the celebration of newcomers.

Your involvement will help. Read on to learn how you can get involved!

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