TORONTO — Celebration of Jamaica's 49th Independence anniversary gets underway in Canada this weekend, with several cities hosting events to commemorate the occasion.
On Sunday, July 31, in the Canadian city with the largest number of Jamaicans, a flag raising ceremony will take place at Toronto City Hall, followed by the Independence Church Service at Faith Sanctuary Pentecostal Church, under the theme, "The Journey Continues".
Jamaica's High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, will address both events.
Also in Toronto, one of the largest festivals will be held on Emancipation Day, Monday, August 1. Called Jambana, it will feature all things Jamaican and will have performers including comedian Oliver Samuels, Joan Myers of the Grace Thrillers and the Silver Birds Steel Band.
On Saturday, August 6, the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA) will hold its Independence Gala at the JCA Centre. Formed in 1962, when a small group of Jamaicans came together to celebrate the country's independence from Britain, JCA is the oldest and the largest Jamaican community association in Canada.
Guest speaker at the gala will be Jamaican-born Ontario Court of Justice judge, the Hon. Mr. Justice Michael Tulloch.
Jamaicans living in Canada's capital, Ottawa, have planned three days of activities starting with a Flag and Banner Day on Friday, August 5, at which the Jamaican Flag will be raised at the Police headquarters. The festivities will continue on Saturday, August 6 with Jamaica Day at Lisgar Field and conclude on Sunday, August 7 with an Independence Church Service at the Ottawa Seventh Day Adventist Church, at which Canada's newest Senator, Jamaican-born Rev. Don Meredith, will be in attendance.
In Western Canada, the Jamaican Canadian Cultural Association of British Columbia (JCCABC) has organized two events – a cultural festival on Sunday, July 31, which will feature bobsled races, tug of war games and strong man contests, as well as an Independence Banquet slated for Saturday, August 6 at the Diamond Banquet Hall.
In other Canadian cities, Jamaicans are busy putting the final touches to their plans.
In Regina, Saskatchewan, the Jamaican Flag will be raised on Friday, August 12, followed by an Independence Church Service on Sunday, August 14.
Independence banquets will be held on August 6 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Montreal, Quebec; and Calgary, Alberta. Jamaicans in Edmonton, Alberta will hold their banquet on August 13. Two cities have already hosted Jamaica Days – Montreal on July 9 and Toronto on July 23.
By Carolyn Goulbourne-Warren
JIS INFORMATION ATTACHÉ
JAMAICAN CONSULATE GENERAL