For Ukrainians who were able to flee from Russia's invasion into the country, Canada has become a safe haven.

Celebrating their first Canada Day are Mariia Lysak, her daughter, Alisa, her brother, Viacheslav Borovyk, and his wife, Dariia Dr yhailo, who have been living in North Bay for more than a month now.

"We decided that must leave. We took a train, a car and walked. We stayed at the Poland border nearly 11 hours in the night and it was snowing and cold. I don't know how we did it," recalled Mariia.

The two families are from a small village in the northeast of Ukraine called Opishnya.

"Every day it gets more and more worse. Now women are getting into the war," explained Dariia. "Our president wrote some of the commands and soon women will be soldiers."

As thousands of Ukrainians fled to the west towards Ukraine-Poland border when Russian forces advanced, humanitarian aid worker John Best was there setting up an emergency field hospital in Ukraine. Best was there for Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian charity organization.

"I got a bird's eye view of the struggle that is going on," said Best. "I see the people. I see the emotional drama that's happening."

When that work ended, he was set to fly back when he met a Ukrainian family moving to Meaford, Ontario. They told him about a social media page helping Ukrainians escape, called “Canada - Host Ukrainians”.

When he got home, Best and his wife knew they wanted to shelter refugees looking for a more rural life. He met Mariia online and then about just over a week later, picked them up at Pearson International Airport and brought them to his home, saying that's what Canadians do.

"We are a hospitable country. Let's extend a hand to those who are reaching out that need a hand," he said. "That's who we are. That's who I am."

As Canadians dress in red and white and celebrate their native country Friday, Ukrainian refugees in Canada like Dariia and her extended family are celebrating in their own way, saying to them Canada represents freedom, happiness and safety.

The two families are hoping the conflict ends soon as they want to eventually return home.

While the future is unknown, for they're happy to be in a country free from war.

"It's so important and I think Canada can be the country of the future," she smiled. "Here is a such a safe territory," concluded Dariia