Monthly Archives: March 2016

We have been matched with a refugee!

Apropos of my last blog posting, you might have seen items in the news recently about how private sponsorship groups like ours are waiting much longer than we expected to be matched with refugee cases (Toronto Star, Globe and Mail).  While we continue to wait to see whether we’ll be matched with a Syrian family, we’re pleased to announce that we have been offered, and  have accepted a refugee case involving a 20-year old man from Iraq, who has been designated by the UNHCR as “at-risk”, and in urgent need of resettlement.

When AURA offered us this case last week, they alluded to the slow-down in the flow of Syrian refugees, suggesting that it might be many months before we were matched with a family.  We found out about this possibility on a Friday, and we had to let AURA know by Monday whether we’d proceed. After a flurry of emails back and forth between our team members, the feeling was unanimous that we should accept this case. The need was great for this individual; we have the funds to support him (and the government contributes a portion of the funding required);  and it could be many months before a family of the type that we’d requested is made available for sponsoring. We still intend to sponsor a larger family as soon as we can do so. But we feel that if we can help someone now, we should.

So, stay tuned — we’ll keep you updated as things develop!



Still waiting …

I just wanted to post a quick update about where we are at with our sponsorship.  We formally applied to AURA last month to be matched with a family.   Apparently, so far, no refugee cases for private sponsorship have been released by Citizenship and Immigration Canada since the last group was in late January/early February.  We’re not clear on what the hold-up is.  If I had to speculate, I would guess that after processing 25,000 cases by the end of February, CIC is taking a bit of a breather while it sorts out what it wants to do next. But that is purely speculation on my part.  AURA has indicated that there will be a “bulletin” sent out next week, which might clarify things.

In the meantime, we continue to be busy organizing fundraising events, and planning for our family’s eventual arrival.

We’re having a silent auction … Can you help?

As those of you who have seen the updates on will know, we have met our initial fundraising goal of $50,000 and have formally applied to have a family assigned to us.  Originally, we imagined resettling a family of four, however, most Syrian families arriving are between 5 and 7 members.  We revised our goal to $75,000 to better support a larger family and set them up for success in their new life in Toronto.  Our fundraising efforts include concerts, the first of which is on April 15!

We will also be holding a silent auction on May 3 at The Church of St. Mary Magdalene and are looking for items to auction. (See the list that follows).  Please get in touch as soon as you can at [email protected] if you have an item or items to contribute.


Examples of suitable auction items

Professional sports tickets

Do you know anyone, a friend or someone with season tickets who might donate a pair of tickets to Blue Jays, Raptors, Leafs, Royal Winter Fair Horse Show, Rogers’ Cup Tennis, Molson Indie, etc.  Maybe ask your lawyer or accountant if their firm has corporate tickets they might want to donate?

Professional performing arts tickets

For example:

  • Opera Atelier (Canadian Opera tickets have been donated)
  • National Ballet
  • Theatre – Canadian Stage, Shaw, Soulpepper, Luminato, Mirvish
  • Music – Hugh’s Room, Koerner Hall, Toronto Symphony, Roy Thomson Hall


  • Passes to ROM, AGO, Textile Museum, Gardiner, Power Plant, Casa Loma the City of Toronto historical museums (Fort York, Colborne Lodge, Spadina House, Mackenzie House, Gibson House )
  • Ideally these to be enhanced with lunch at the museum restaurant or somewhere nearby, a tour with a curator etc.

Hidden Toronto

We rarely discover the city where we live in the way we explore and experience a city we are visiting. We could put together packages that give people this unique experience of Toronto, for example:

  • A walking tour for four of Haunted Toronto (Muddy York Tours offers Toronto’s Haunted Streets and University of Toronto Ghosts) with dinner or lunch at the Keg in the old Massey Mansion where people have seen the ghost of a maid who hanged herself there
  • A tour of – for example –  Old City Hall or the Toronto Archives with historian and broadcaster Mike Filey
  • Wild Toronto – a tour for four of the Leslie Street Spit with a conservationist followed by lunch at e.g. the Cherry St. Restaurant
  • Toronto Harbour – a private boat tour of the harbour for 6 with cocktails
  • Paddling adventure – an adventure for 4 – learn to kayak, canoe or paddle board on the Humber River
  • Bird-watching on the Humber

Culinary adventures

Donations of e.g. dinners for 2 or 4 experiences such as:

  • 6 friends cooking a meal with a chef
  • A group learning to make a specific type of dish or specialty with an expert e.g. chocolate truffles, Indian snacks
  • An individual getting to help a craft brewer with a new beer

Vacation getaways

For example,  time at a cottage, hotel or country inn

Art and Antiques

  • Original prints, paintings, sculpture – ideally by established – i.e. searchable – artists
  • Silver, glass, china and ceramics, easily movable small furniture e.g. side tables, cabinets, lamps
  • First edition or collector books


Home and Garden

  • New or gently used high quality items, such as crystal, china, etc.
  • Garden items could such items as decorative urns, ceramic pots, wall fountains, metal or ceramic seating or décor such as obelisks, trellises, sculptures,  new/never used secateurs, etc.
  • A garden experience could be consultation with a landscaper or plant expert and a gift certificate for plants

If you have something to donate that you don’t see on this list, please get in touch!

Many thanks – keep checking out for updates.