Fall Cycling Mentorship Program

CultureLink Health and Recreation News

The Mississauga Cycles project is thrilled to announce a Mentorship Program this fall in both Mississauga and West Toronto! In this program, newcomer residents (“mentees”) are matched with residents (“mentors”) who live in their community.

After receiving online training, newcomer participants are loaned a quality bicycle, helmet and lock and take part in rides with their Mentor to enjoy the fall season.

There will also be online workshops on trip planning and bike repair as well as group rides every month! We ask that all participants take part in a minimum of three activities total, which can be any combination of mentor-mentee rides, online workshops and group rides.

Registration for the fall program is well underway!

There are about 30 bikes still available for newcomers and we will need 15 Mentors to match with our newcomer participants, too. Maybe it will be YOU! Get involved and register at the links below – the deadline has been extended to October 29th!

Do you know someone else who is interested? Feel free to share these program posters!

Still have questions? Contact Rahul Mehta, Program Worker at rmehta@culturelink.ca. The Fall Newcomer Cycling Mentorship Program is made possible through funding provided from The Public Health Agency of Canada working with the Immigrations Services Society of BC, in partnership with CultureLink, HUB Cycling and the Ecology Action Centre.

Newcomer Families Hike Mono Cliffs Provincial Park

CultureLink SWIS News, Youth News

CultureLink’s settlement services programs organize many activities and events besides providing everyday support to newcomer families. The ultimate goal is to ensure that they feel welcomed and safe and that they transition smoothly into their new life in Canada.

The activities and events are meant to help them connect to their new home country. Outdoor trips and visits to surrounding areas not only bring families closer to their new environment, but they also provide opportunities to bond with others in more relaxed and casual settings, where everyone is having fun.

Saturday, September 18 was one such day! We had an amazing guided hike at the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park through the Parkbus Naturelink program. Our group included children, youth and adults. We started the morning with a warm-up exercise followed by an hour and a half fun-filled bus ride. The hiking of course was the highlight of the day, it included walking and climbing through trails filled with nature, beautiful trees, smells and sounds of the earth, birds and fresh wildflowers. With only our hike guide knowing the tracks and trails, it was an adventure for the rest of us all the way! The bonus was the view of changing Fall colours setting in this time of the year, which enhanced our experience all the more.

Throughout the day, we had the chance to meet each other, have amazing conversations, share stories, traditional food and snacks – all the while celebrating diversity! We laughed, ate and sang. Kids thoroughly enjoyed it and so did the adults -including four CultureLink staff members, those who organized the trip.

Our hike guide Juan Pablo was fantastic, especially at explaining scientific facts, the history and nature of the Mono Cliffs Park and the connection to mother earth. The children were impressed and excited to discover a number of edible plants. Our bus driver was a superwoman who joined us all the way through the hike.

A big THANK YOU to our friends from @parkbus for this amazing opportunity, the free bus ride and our guide. Thanks to you, we were able to provide newcomer families with very special memories of their first months in Canada that will be cherished for a long time to come. This experience has brought them closer to their new home country.

CultureLink’s Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) program and Newcomer Youth Centre worked in partnership with Parkbus for this event.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

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On Thursday, September 30th, 2021, Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we at CultureLink encourage our staff, stakeholders and community to take time to educate ourselves on the matter.

It is essential on our part not only to dedicate our thoughts to the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit survivors of Residential Schools and the families of those who did not return, but to recognize the importance of this day and take action to generate change for Indigenous peoples.

CultureLink will support its staff in exploring ways to incorporate Reconciliation education into our program’s activities this September 30 and beyond. It’s important that the community of new Canadians understand the rich history and culture of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis, and recognize Indigenous rights.

Truth and Reconciliation Week 

September 30th, 2021 is also the 8th annual Orange Shirt Day. Shall we recognize the legacy of Canada’s residential school system and continue to learn the many truths of these institutions, as well as honour the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children and communities impacted by this system.

During Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 27th to October 1st, we are encouraged to participate in events offered by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.


On this day, we recognize the ongoing trauma caused by residential and day schools and remember those who were lost, survivors and their families. It is also an opportunity to commit to the process of truth, reconciliation and justice with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Toronto and across Canada, as well as take action to heal and build a better future together.

City of Toronto – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. This day relates to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, on her first day of school when she was 6 years old, where she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was taken from her. It is now a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

 On September 30th, all Canadians are encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the very tragic legacy of residential schools, and to honour the thousands of Survivors.

 Government of Canada – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CultureLink’s Annual General Meeting 2021

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Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of CultureLink Settlement and Community Services (which operates under the business name of CultureLink) will be held in a virtual format on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 6:00 pm for the following purposes:

  • The approval of the 2020 AGM minutes.
  • The presentation of the Chair & Interim Executive Director’s Report.
  • The presentation of the Corporation’s financial statements and the auditor’s report for the financial year ended March 31, 2021.
  • To appoint the Auditors for the ensuing year.
  • To elect the Directors of the Corporation.

By Order of the Board
September 23, 2021

If you wish to join us, please RSVP.
All registered participants will receive the link to the Zoom meeting the day before the event.

For more information, visit our event: CultureLink’s Annual general Meeting 2021.

Field trip to Earl Rowe Provincial Park for Newcomers

Nick Wang News

By Barbora Gomezova, Newcomer Wellness Worker &
Stanley Teo, Library Settlement Partnerships Program Worker

After more than a year of seemingly never-ending ZOOM workshops, our new Canadians finally had the chance to embark on a field trip to Earl Rowe Provincial Park. For many, it was the first time traveling outside the boundaries of Toronto and visiting a Provincial Park.
Prior to the field trip, the participants had to attend a mandatory orientation where they learned about the different park systems in Canada as well as the COVID preventative measures for the entire (reduced capacity, pre-departure COVID questionnaire, mandatory face mask, no food & drinks on board).

On August 30th, the participants were already waiting patiently for the bus before the gathering time of 8:30 AM at the 34 Asquith Avenue pickup point. We did a quick and smooth check-in with the waivers and photo release and before we knew it, we were enroute to the park. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Ontario Parks staff and they provided us with an overview of the history and environment of the park. Our field guide and the Community Programs Coordinator at ParkBus, Juan Pablo Herrera, showed our participants the importance of the vegetation as well as identifying numerous trees and flowers along our hike.

We took a quick break for lunch and the participants were given a variety of options for the rest of the day – some went for another hike, some visited the park store and pampered themselves with some delicious ice-cream, others played beach volleyball, and the rest chose to laze around and relax.
Sadly, before we knew it, it was time to head back to Toronto. Just as when we were about to board the bus, the Ontario Parks staff showed up and distributed a small plush toy souvenir to everyone – and that definitely brought big smiles to the seemingly exhausted participants. What a sweet and beautiful gesture to end our fantastic day with!
Our survey after the trip spoke volumes. In addition to fulfilling all our COVID safety measures, all the participants said they felt safe on the bus AND in the park.
We hope for more future collaborations and bringing more newcomers to Ontario Parks. This trip would not have been possible without the generous support from ParkBus’ NatureLink program and Ontario Parks. 
Here are some of the participants’ feedback on this unforgettable field trip:

  • Thanks all the people who work to do this marvelous experience. Is not my first time in a national park, but it is completely different when you are with a guide like Juan Pablo, he explain us about the plants, ecosystem. You can feel the love and respect he has for the planet. Also Earl Park Staffs were really enthusiastic and kind with us, they made a complete introduction to the park, trails and animals and in the end they have teddy 🧸 for us! That was super nice! Thanks. And of course thanks a lot to Barbora, Stanley and the Volunteers, because of your effort and energy these amazing Trip can be possible. I really wish we can do more trips and the future! Extra points for the giant and delicious ice cream in the park and also for volleyball game!
  • Thank you for this wonderful trip because I can feel more like person welcomed in Canada. All staff was very kind and knowledgeable. I could also develop my English vocabulary as well as respect for such values like indigenous culture, beauty of nature. Thank you for this opportunity. – Kate
  • The organization of the field trip in Earl Rowe Provincial Park was at a high level. I enjoyed this trip. I was safe throughout the field trip – on the bus and in the park.   Thank Parkbus so much for generously sponsoring this trip and for an unforgettable summer day.  Thanks a lot to Juan Pablo lead a walk and shared some information about the nature of Canada. A lot of thanks, the staff of Earl Rowe Park for the presentation of the park. And a lovely surprise gift for everyone. I am grateful CultureLink for the excellent work with newcomers to Canada. Especially, thank Dear Barbora Gomezova,  patient, responsible, fun-energetic and kind to newcomers.
  • This trip was amazing! There was plenty of information about the park and health guidelines, everything was clear from the beginning. It was so nice to see all the people enjoying nature and having fun. I really appreciate all the effort that CultureLink and Parkbus did so we could enjoy this trip for free. I am looking forward to the next trips.
  • The organization was faultless, but the good vibes and the amazing energy of the staff Barbora, Stanley, and Juan Pablo made this experience something unbeatable. Thank you, because you all put their hearts in this and I felt it.