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Ukrainian families now call the Sault home


The Kole family has been in Canada for just over four months.

That's nearly the same amount of time their lives in the Ukraine were impacted by military assaults and occupation by neighbouring Russia.

Elvis Kole says life in Kherson was incredibly difficult and eventually he and his wife Nataliia knew a change was needed.

“We didn’t know what to do... everywhere bombing... air strikes. There were days where I was literally crying because I have two kids, two young kids whom I can’t protect,” said Kole.

In July the family was granted access to Canada.

Kole said they have found peace in Sault Ste. Marie and calls it a dream place to live for his two children, aged 3 and 8.

“The very first day we arrive Canada we felt the love of the Canadian people,” he added.

“They showed us love, they’ve been very supportive, they’ve been very caring. We really really like it here.”

Michael Atabong, a long-time friend of Elvis’, moved to the Sault only a month ago, fleeing the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

“Life continues. You have to move on, we have to try to make a… good situation from a bad situation.”

The two families are among many assisted by the Sault Career Centre.

Adam Pinder, the centre’s executive director said they are helping refugees find accommodation, work, and in Nataliia's case, learn English.

“We’ve received over 40 different clients coming from the Ukraine to reside here in the Sault. Overall it’s been going very well. Our community has been extremely welcoming.”

Kole has been blown away with the support from locals.

The family's landlord is allowing them to stay in their apartment rent-free for a year and neighbours have helped out any way possible.

“(My neighbour) personally took me to his employer. He told him, ‘This guy’s from the Ukraine and he needs a job.’ And immediately I was offered employment.”

He added that both he and his wife have found work, while their two kids are loving school and daycare.

Kole told CTV News that he tells his friends back in Ukraine that if they are looking for somewhere peaceful to start a new life, Canada and Sault Ste. Marie should be top of their lists because of how much the family is enjoying the city.

The Kola family is looking to find a house of their own to purchase in the near future. Top Stories

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