Jamaicans gearing up for 50th anniversary
Published Saturday, July 28, 2012 6:17PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 30, 2012 11:17AM EDT
MONTREAL - Montreal Jamaicans are gearing up for a Golden Jubilee as their homeland celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence August 6.
Daphne Morrison is one of many busy organizing their visit back to celebrate the big occasion.
Morrison came to Canada as a domestic in July 1962, one of many Caribbean women given visas to Canada to tend to Canadian families.
She quickly enrolled in night courses and eventually became head cook at the Shriner’s Hospital, retiring after 32 years of service.
And while she loves Canada, her birthland also holds a big spot in her heart.
“We are proud to be Jamaicans,” she said.
Around 250,000 Canadians are of Jamaican heritage, including Senator Don Meredith, something that one of the city’s highest-profile Jamaican Montrealer has noted.
“We are fortunate that we have a Jamaican who has been appointed by the present government as a senator and he's the first in Canada,” said Noel Alexander, longtime head of the Jamaica Association of Montreal.
The community celebrates its quirks, including telltale names, such as Delroy.
“Now Delroy is totally Jamaican. So if someone's name is Delroy, it's almost guaranteed they're Jamaican,” said Delroy Peart, of the Jamaica 50th anniversary Planning committee.
Their accents are also a source of distinction and pride.
“They get into mixing Patois sometimes with English. 'Soon come,' they say. I won't be long! Soon come back,” said Alexander.
Monteralers asked to list what comes to their minds when thinking of Jamaica came up with beaches, reggae, jerk chicken, Usain Bolt, and P.K. Subban among others.
But they also include others among us, including a soccer star.
“I'm Jamaican through and through. Don't get it twisted. I really am. It's a beautiful thing for our country you know, because we've come so far,” said CTV Soccer Analyst Lloyd Barker.
His successors on the Impact include a couple of Jamaicans, in the form of Donovan Ricketts and Shavar Thomas, who are both aware of the big 50 year anniversary.
“It's our independence and it's something that we cherish and hold dearly, so it's something big for us,” said Thomas.
The Jamaica 50th Anniversary Planning Committee at Montreal, in conjunction with the Jamaica Association of Montreal, presents a Grand Gala on August 18th 2012, at the Hilton Montreal Bonaventure's luxurious ballroom to celebrate in Montreal the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence.