TORONTO — There is no fear in love, said one speaker, after 15 North Korean refugee couples filed into city hall Saturday to tie the knot.
To wed a group of refugees in Toronto's central civic arena was the work of one determined city councillor, Raymond Cho.
"All these people said that Canada is paradise, and they say they escaped from hell to heaven," he said.
Originally South Korean, Cho says he hopes the wedding sends a message to North Korea.
"North Korea is a sick country, literally," he said. "They cannot torture their own people and let the people starve to death."
All but two couples were wary of photographs and videos, fearing backlash on their kin still back home.
Groom, Jea-Yi Kim, spoke through a translator as bride Sea-Na Moon sat beside him. Together for two years, they met on the run in a Chinese church. They had their first child in late July.
"It is just such a big blessing to be in this position today with my wife," he said.
Filling in for missing families - some housed in concentration camps back home - Cho handpicked people, such as Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, German consul general Sabine Sparwasser, and Imam Yusuf Badat, of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, as honorary parents to couples on their special day.