Canada's newly elected Liberal party prime minister has opened his arms to Syrian refugees by greeting the first planeload to arrive during his tenure at the airport.

After months of preparation the first batch of arrivals landed in Toronto on Thursday night, where they were greeted by volunteers, social workers and resettlement officials.

Just before the incoming plane carrying 163 people from Beirut landed, Justin Trudeau told the airport workers and volunteers standing by:

This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations.

On landing, the new arrivals were greeted with cheers and welcome packs.


One of Trudeau's promises when elected in September was to accept more refugees than his Conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper.

While the timeframe has been scaled back in the wake of security concerns following the Paris attacks, and Canada will no longer accept asylum applications from men travelling alone, Trudeau is aiming to have resettled 25,000 people by the end of February 2016.

A second military airlift of Syrians is expected to arrive in Montreal on Saturday.

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