JIS News

Two Jamaicans are among five persons featured on this year’s official Legacy Poster created annually for Black History Month by Canadian artist, Robert Small, which highlights the contributions and achievements of African-Canadians.

The two are business persons, Michael Lee-Chin and Delores Lawrence. Mr. Lee-Chin is the founder of Portland Holdings and Chairman of National Commercial Bank (NCB).   As a philanthropist, he is best known for his C$30 million donation in 2003 to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto.

He has also donated millions of dollars to the University of Toronto, Northern Caribbean University and his alma mater, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  Mr. Lee-Chin is the recipient of many awards and accolades, including Entrepreneur of the Year, International Humanitarian, Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year and the Order of Jamaica. 

Mrs. Lawrence is President and Chief Executive Officer of NHI Nursing and Homemakers Inc., a company which provides healthcare services to patients who need home care.  She has been ranked in the top 100 women business owners in Canada for the past seven years by Profit Magazine, and is the recipient of the highest honour given out in the province of Ontario, the Order of Ontario.

This year’s Legacy Poster is dedicated to achievement in the field of business, and the other persons featured on the poster are the creator of the SureShot Dispensing system, Michael Duck; President of Vale and Associates, Cassandra Dorrington; and President and Chief Executive Officer of GenieKnows, Barbara Manning, all from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Speaking with JIS News recently, Mr. Small, who began creating the posters 17 years ago, said he never believed it would go for this long and evolved into what it is today.

“Every year people look forward to seeing who is going to be featured.  It’s a responsibility I enjoy taking on.  The younger generations are learning about people they have never heard of before,” he said.

Since the first poster was created almost two decades ago, several Jamaicans have been highlighted, including journalists, Hamlin Grange and Royson James; educator,

Dr. Avis Glaze; former Citizenship Court judges, Pamela Appelt and Stanley Grizzle; first Black Speaker of the Ontario Legislature, Alvin Curling; first Black Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Lincoln Alexander; and the first Black woman to be elected to a Canadian provincial legislature, Rosemary Brown.

Mr. Small, who is of Barbadian heritage, admitted that over the years more Jamaicans than any other nationality, have been featured on the posters.

“Jamaicans make up a larger proportion of Caribbean persons in Canada and there are so many Jamaicans who have achieved great things in Canada,” said the artist.



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