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The Jamaican community in Toronto turned out on Sunday (Aug.1) for a flag raising ceremony at Toronto’s City Hall to commemorate the country’s 48th year of Independence.
The event is organised each year by the oldest and largest Jamaican community association in Canada, the Jamaican Canadian Association (JCA), which is also celebrating 48 years of existence this year.
It was a short, but poignant ceremony, with the National Anthem appropriately accompanying the hoisting of the flag, with its brilliant black, green and gold colours adorning the Nathan Phillips Square in front of the city hall building.
High Commissioner to Canada, Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, in her remarks, said the symbolic hosting of Jamaica’s national flag is of unparalleled importance in the life of the country.
She noted it marks the occasion when “we formally disconnected our links with our colonial masters and asserted our rights to take responsibilities for our country’s affairs, and to make decisions on our national life.”
The High Commissioner said that during the Independence celebrations, it was important to focus on “the many blessings we have received at God’s hands, how far we have come, what we have achieved in the relatively brief period of our nationhood, and to remember those in all areas of national life, who commit themselves to work steadily for the improvement of the livelihood of our dear homeland.”
President of the JCA, Audrey Campbell, said Jamaicans everywhere should be proud as the country celebrates 48 years as an independent nation.
“As our flag rises today, it signifies the pride that Jamaicans have in their country. Even though we’ve immigrated to other lands, Jamaica never leaves us. In Toronto, we can take pride in the contributions that Jamaicans have made,” she said.
Noting the thousands of Jamaicans, who have made positive contributions to Canada, she informed that “in the world of politics we have our Minister of Health Promotion, Hon. Margarett Best; and we all remember the Hon. Mary Anne Chambers and Dr. Alvin Curling.”
“In the world of academics, we have Dr. Gervan Fearon, Dean of Continuing Education for Ryerson University; in law enforcement, we have Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, and another first, he’s also the youngest deputy chief in all of Canada. In business, everybody knows of Michael Lee-Chin and his contribution to the Royal Ontario Museum; Raymond Chang’s contribution to Ryerson, and what about Wayne Isaacs, the CEO of Delta Uranium, a mining company that is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.”
She noted further that Jamaicans have shared their food, art and music with the world.
Also in attendance at the flag raising ceremony were Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan and Mrs. Lola Ramocan; Consul General of Trinidad and Tobago, Michael Lashley; Regional Director of the Jamaica Tourist Board, Sandra Scott; Deputy Mayor of Toronto, Joe Pantalone; President of the Ontario Black History Society, Rosemary Sadlier; and Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner, Jean Augustine.

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