Though the number of Syrian refugees who've come to Canada just hit 25,000, only a small number of them can say that one of their first introductions to Canadian culture was being greeted by people in fursuits.
Newly arrived Syrian refugees in Canada who were being housed at a hotel just outside of Vancouver, ended up sharing their temporary residence with a furry convention. VancouFur attendees wearing fursuits greeted enthusiastic children from some of the Syrian families with hugs and posed for photos with them at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel where the convention was held last weekend.
The annual furry con—attended by more than 800 people this year (171 in fursuits)—had clued into the fact that they'd be sharing the hotel with Syrian refugees and, in turn, informed its attendees by handing out a letter to each. "A major concern that VancouFur has is ensuring that each and every one of the refugees (and attendees) feels welcome and safe and the fact that this is likely to be a major shock to them... Keep in mind that they likely will not want to interact with you and consent is important to everyone," part of the letter read.
But instead of being freaked out at the members of a subculture that has flourished within the depths of the internet, the children from the Syrian families were pretty fucking psyched to hang out with a bunch of people in fursuits, crowding around them and excitedly touching their costumes.
While being surrounded by a bunch of sweaty people dressed up as wolves, foxes, and cats was probably not the way the newcomers expected to enter the country, it hopefully helped make the daunting experience a little more fun.
Follow Allison Elkin on Twitter.