January 30, 2016 5:07 pm
Updated: January 30, 2016 9:17 pm

Newcomers to Canada lace up and give skating a try at the Halifax oval

WATCH ABOVE: Dozens of new Canadians, including recent refugees from Syria, had the chance to try a new Canadian tradition: ice skating. Rebecca Lau has more.


Dozens of new Nova Scotians had the chance to try a Canadian tradition at the Emera Oval on Saturday afternoon.

They laced up some skates and hit the ice, as part of an annual event organized by the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).

Some were a little unsure on their feet, but all were eager to give it a go.

READ MORE: No pause on bringing Syrian refugees to Halifax: ISANS

“I’m really happy,” said Ghazal Alaz, 9, through an interpreter as she smiled with her newly-rented skates on her feet.

Ghazal’s family came to Halifax about a month ago from Syria as refugees. Since then, they’ve slowly become accustomed to the weather and some new traditions.

“Yesterday, they told us we are coming today and that we’re going to be here at 12 and the children did not sleep,” said her father Abdelmaten, through an interpreter. “They were just waiting for that.”

READ MORE: Halifax groups prepare to help Syrian refugees adjust to language, cultural changes

The annual Winter by the Sea event is a partnership between ISANS, the YMCA, and the municipality’s recreation staff. The event includes other outdoor winter activities, including sledding, to help families enjoy their new home.

“I think that’s exciting. They’ve never tried it before probably in their lives,” said Issam Khoury, an interpreter with ISANS.

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