Every Wednesday evening, 40 women spend their afternoon on the main floor of CCI Ottawa — sewing.

Meanwhile, another group of old and young newcomers go skating every Thursday evening at Lansdowne Park.

In late summer, Michael Tay just wrapped up a paddling course on the Rideau River that taught young newcomers how to canoe, paddleboard and even row a dragon boat.

And in late September, when CCI hosted its annual picnic, organizers welcomed a couple of hundred newcomers to spend a sunny Sunday in the park.

So how do fun activities like these help newcomers on their settlement journey?

Events like these introduce newcomers to other members of their community and to Canadian volunteers,” said Michael.

“Our goal is to help newcomers discover places and activities in the capital, to make friends. We want them to feel at home.”

Learning a new language, finding a job, a home, enrolling the children into school — all of that is stressful.

Activities like snowshoeing in the winter or visiting a sugar bush in the spring do a lot to help newcomers feel part of the community, he added.

CCI also introduces newcomers to volunteer opportunities where they can make friends. “We’ve had people volunteer with Bluesfest, National Capital Marathon, the Terry Fox Run and numerous other events,” said Michael.

The more we can integrate newcomers into the community, the sooner they will feel like they are a part of their community.