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Announcement Details


In partnership with the City of Toronto’s Newcomer Office and Together Project, COSTI hosted our annual picnic for over 200 newcomers and volunteers on June 23rd at Dufferin Grove Park. The picnic had lots of food and activities for children, including henna-painting, face-painting, Frisbee, soccer and a gardening project supported by TD.

"Toronto is a city built by immigrants – many who came here as refugees,” said Mayor John Tory. “Thank you to the agencies and their volunteers that work to make Toronto a welcoming city. I'm proud of the way the City collaborates with community agencies and the way Torontonians contribute to these welcoming efforts."

"We are honoured to be working with the City of Toronto Newcomer Office and Together Project. Our partnership with the City of Toronto Newcomer Office and the Together Project helps accelerate the integration of newcomers," said Mario Calla, Executive Director of COSTI Immigrant Services. "Volunteer Welcome Groups provide invaluable support and assistance to newcomers. From the day they move from temporary housing to their new home, the Welcome Group is by their side, providing great comfort to our clients when they first arrive at COSTI's Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre."

"Our aim with the Together Project is to work alongside partners such as COSTI Immigrant Services and the City of Toronto to provide programs that foster social inclusion or host community events like this picnic," said Anna Hill, Project Director with the Together Project. "Since 2017, we have matched over 200 volunteers with 200 newcomers in the GTA. We look forward to continuing our work with COSTI and local community agencies to match volunteers with newcomers across Toronto."

The City of Toronto implemented its Refugee Resettlement Program in October 2015, which includes service agreements with community agencies to increase supports and resources available to new Torontonians and their sponsors.

Together Project, a project of Tides Canada, connects newcomers and Canadians to build stronger, more integrated communities. Together Project matches Welcome Groups of five or more volunteers with newly arrived government-assisted refugees for friendship and social support. Together Project works with partners to host community events and programs that foster social inclusion. Together Project also works with partners to provide training and resources to prepare volunteers to work effectively with newcomers.

Many thanks to the volunteers who came out to help with the activities and to photographer Sarah Bodri who donated her time and photos. Visit her at to find out more about her work.