There were wobbles, a few falls, and lots of smiles at Rogers Arena as refugee families had the opportunity to go ice skating for the first time on Friday.
Now in its fourth year, First Skate is a way for newcomers to try their hand at the quintessential Canadian winter activity.
The event is organized by the family of Mike Magee and Suzanne Hawkes through their company Convergence Strategies, with sponsorship from the Vancouver Canucks and support from the Vancouver Parks Board staff.
First Skate also supports the work of Immigrant Settlement Services of BC (ISSofBC) with assisting newly arrived families to find jobs, housing and other services.
Some of the newcomers in attendance have only been in Canada for a few weeks and have never seen ice before entering Rogers Arena, but they laced up their skates and took on the challenge with determination.
With holiday music playing over the speakers, the new skaters made their way across the ice. For a few hours, Rogers Arena transformed into a place that represents what Canada is all about: welcoming others with open arms.
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