WELCOME TO CANADA

Refugees in Canada are embracing the country’s silliest sport

Few outside of Canada truly love curling. Whether or not the winter game, which involves sliding granite rocks across ice, even deserves to be called a sport regularly comes up for debate in the US, during the Winter Olympics. But a small group of refugees in Canada who recently discovered the slippery game seem to have embraced it with open arms.

A Canadian non-governmental organization, Together Project, recently organized a curling session for refugees at Toronto’s Royal Canadian Curling Club, to help them learn about Canada. The Canadian men’s curling team has won gold through the past three Winter Olympics. A small group of refugees from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Kurdistan, including some who’d only arrived days earlier, were invited to spend a day at the stadium to learn the sport.

Yazidi refugees from Kurdistan laugh on the ice as they learn the sport of curling at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
Yazidi refugees from Kurdistan laugh on the ice as they learn the sport of curling in Toronto (Reuters/Mark Blinch)

One child was initially skeptical that curling was even a sport. “It looked like not that fun. I was like, ‘Why is it taking such a long time?’ It felt like hockey is better,” Arun, an 11-year-old boy from Sri Lanka, told Reuters. But he came around: “But when I came and really did it, I felt like, ‘Oh, I shouldn’t say that’.”

A refugee from Afghanistan smiles as he learns the sport of curling at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
A refugee from Afghanistan smiles. (Reuters/Mark Blinch)
A refugee from Afghanistan looks out as she watches her family learn to curl at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
A refugee from Afghanistan looks out as she watches her family learn to curl. (Reuters/Mark Blinch)
A Yazidi refugee from Kurdistan falls as she learns the sport of curling at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
A Yazidi refugee from Kurdistan. (Reuters/Mark Blinch)
A refugee family from Afghanistan gets introduced to the sport of curling at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
(Reuters/Mark Blinch)
Refugees take to the ice as they are introduced to the sport of curling at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
(Reuters/Mark Blinch)
A father and daughter, who are refugees from Syria, walk the ice as they were introduced to the sport of curling at the Royal Canadian Curling Club during an event put on by the "Together Project", in Toronto
A father and daughter from Syria. (Reuters/Mark Blinch)
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