08/14/2013 06:31 EDT | Updated 10/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Brampton newcomers hop aboard free bus tours

New to Brampton? Better yet — new to Canada? The City of Brampton wants you to come along for a free ride.

In a bid to reach out to more immigrants and recently arrived residents, the municipality is offering the public a chance to hop aboard a fleet of newcomer tour buses and get ferried around points of interest, introducing people to the city's community services and instructing them on everything from obtaining library cards to alerting 911.

"We get to know new things about the city. We get to explore the city, and it's very nice," remarked Vidhi Chada, who arrived just three weeks ago from India.

"I recommend that a newcomer coming here should go on this tour."

Chada's father, Vivek, also appreciated the tour as a warm welcome to his new home.

Part info session, part sightseeing

"When we come here as a new immigrant, it's very hard to go and find places here and there, so it's very good on the part of Brampton," he said.

The trips are part info session, part sightseeing tour.

Even longtime Brampton residents like Dave and Marlene DeForest, who have lived in the community for 34 years, were taking advantage.

The newly retired couple just happened to be in the library one day when they were told about the bus, and decided to tag along.

"When you've been here as long as we have and you've been tied up with family, there's a lot of things you don't go and see," said Dave DeForest, who learned within the first 20 minutes of the tour about a garden that's open to the public.

When the tours started four years ago, about 2,000 immigrants were arriving in Brampton each month.