About Us

WHO WE ARE

Our Vision

The Christie Refugee Welcome Centre is a place of welcome, safety and support for refugees.

Our Mission

We are a Christian organization serving and advocating for refugee families by providing safe, temporary housing, initial settlement services, and follow-up support. We influence and engage the broader public through education and advocacy networks.

Our Values

  • We are Christian
  • We respond to refugees with dignity and respect
  • We are resilient and responsive to the changing needs of refugees
  • We are committed to children and families
  • We partner with others to serve refugees more effectively
  • We are advocates for refugees
The Christie Street Welcome Centre staff at our 2024 staff retreat in Niagara Falls.

The Christie Street Welcome Centre staff at our 2024 staff retreat in Niagara Falls.

WHAT WE DO

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, a few minutes from Christie subway station, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre (CRWC) has provided emergency shelter for refugee claimant families of all ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds since 1989. Every year, approximately 100 families from countries around the world are housed at Christie Refugee Welcome Centre. At Christie, we shelter refugee families with care and support and provide intensive follow-up and assistance as families pursue their refugee claims and begin their new lives in Canada.

OUR HISTORY

1989
1989
1990s
2001
2006-7
2010-11
2017

Early Days

Founded by World Vision Canada in 1989, Christie Refugee Welcome Centre began as the World Vision Reception Centre, developed to welcome some of the 750 Government-Assisted Refugees arriving to Toronto in the late 1980s. At this time, the largest refugee resettlements in Canada’s history was taking place: the resettlement of more than 60,000 refugees from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam to Canada. World Vision Reception Centre signed on as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder to facilitate the sponsorship of refugees.

First Families

This photograph captures the moment one of the first families arrived at the World Vision Reception Centre in 1989.

One of the first families to arrive

Federal Government Partnership

During its first decade, the World Vision Reception Centre partnered with the federal government to provide temporary accommodation, basic needs, orientation to life in Canada, and housing supports to Government-Assisted Refugees fleeing war and political upheaval from countries including Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Colombia. Arriving to Canada with little to nothing, the World Vision Reception Centre took a lead role in providing basic needs and resettlement assistance to refugees, even sending staff to Camp Borden, a military facility receiving Kosovar refugees, to help with their immigration processing.

Partnership with City of Toronto

In 2001, the Centre transitioned from working with Government-Assisted Refugees in partnership with the federal government to serving refugee claimants in partnership with the City of Toronto. At the time, refugee claimants made up a large percentage of the City’s unhoused population.

A New Name

In 2006, the Outreach Program was launched. The Outreach Program provides seamless settlement services and continued supports to families who have moved out from the Centre. In 2007, the World Vision Reception Centre became independent from its parent organization World Vision Canada and was renamed Christie Refugee Welcome Centre.

Renovation and Expansion

In 2010 and 2011, major renovations transform the shelter houses on Christie street. 

In December 2010, an on-site health clinic is opened to provide immediate, primary care as well as promote preventative health initiatives for shelter residents.

Services for Families

Given the extreme lack of emergency family shelter space in Toronto, in 2017 Christie Refugee Welcome Centre began to serve refugee claimant families exclusively (previously, single refugee claimants had been included) and increased its capacity from 64 beds to 76 beds.